Stranded polar bears on Cross Island outside Prudhoe Bay. Oil giant Shell recently received permits from the US government to operate two drilling rigs in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas starting in 2012. Environmentalists are concerned that if Shell is allowed to go ahead and open up these icy seas to its oil rigs, this untouched wilderness will be irrevocably tarnished. Cleaning up an oil spill in Arctic waters has not been proven possible, despite this Shell still claim that they will be able to clean up 95% of any oil spilled.
A Warm Feeling For the Arctic | NYT
To many Americans, Wasilla, Alaska, seems like a very distant corner of the national map. For the photographer Bill Hess, 60, it is just the starting point.
He has spent about half his life traveling from his home in Wasilla to the far more remote realms of the North Slope Borough, where the Inupiat people live. He pilots his own bush plane and, once on the ground, travels by snowmobile or dog sled. He is home.
“Alaska speaks to me as no other place I have ever been,” Mr. Hess said. “I love Alaska with every piece of flesh and spirit that is me. It speaks most strongly in the communities and camps of its native people, for they have ties to the land, sea and animals — and knowledge of the same — that is possessed by no one else. I can feel that when I am with them. When I am not with them, I miss that feeling.”
Above: Ralph Ahkivgak assured a gray whale in Barrow that it would be rescued from the slush ice in which it was temporarily trapped. The Inupiat do nut typically hunt grey whales.