Subhankar Banerjee on Defending Arctic Alaska/105

Subhankar Banerjee

Subhankar Banerjee

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge provides calving grounds to Porcupine Caribou and beluga whales, a place of interlude for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, denning grounds for polar bears, and sanctuary for over fifteen thousand migrating bowhead whales during the spring and fall. However popular, and political, depictions of the Arctic rarely draw upon the diversity of its vast tundra, wetland, mountain, and forest regions. Instead we are imprinted with a false depiction of these latitudes as one mere stretch of vast, barren, and icy terrain. When we forget the Arctic lives as a birthing ground and a place rich in culture, we allow the hands of petro-capitalism to tighten their grasp around this immense and incredibly biodiverse ecosystem…

In the past thirty years, there have been fifty attempts to open the Refuge to drilling. What does it say about our civilization that we are so devoted to fossil fuels that we are willing to drill in sacred birthing grounds and risk losing an integrator of our planets atmosphere and oceanic climate systems? This week on the podcast, we explore the “Near North” with Subhankar Banerjee and reflect on our ethical and moral imperative to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Subhankar Banerjee is an Indian born, American photographer, writer, activist, and environmental humanities scholar. He has been a leading voice on issues of Arctic conservation, Indigenous human rights, resource wars, and climate change. He has done work in the American Southwest that addresses desert ecology and forest deaths from climate change, and recently started a project to address climate change impact and politics of ecology in the coastal temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest. His research focuses on the intersection of art, eco-cultural activism and environmental humanities. Subhankar’s photographs, writing, and lectures have reached millions of people around the world.

Join us in conversation as Subhankar calls us to find our connection with the Near North while clarifying many misconceptions about the current status of the Refuge and the history of extraction in Alaska. We must do these sacred grounds justice in our actions and minds.


Use the understanding you gathered from this episode to submit a written comment to The BLM Alaska State Office as they prepare to release an EIS to develop a gas and oil leasing program in the Refuge’s Coastal Plain. This EIS is in accordance with the passing of the Trump Administration’s Dec. 22, 2017 Tax Law. We ask you to join us in the decade long struggle to defeat drilling in the Refuge and speak out against continued extraction in Alaska. The Comment Period closes on February 11, 2019.

You can mail your comments to:
Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS
222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13
Anchorage, Alaska 99513 -7504

Or submit electronically here:

Music by Sun Araw

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