Environmentalists Call To Action On Project Willow


Staged photo with Cayenne Dabalos, throwing away trash to help the environment.

Jade Bluestone, reporter

On March 13, President Joe Biden approved the Willow Project, an extensive oil-drilling project on Alaska’s Northern Slope. This project goes against Biden’s initial commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 2023. Environmentalists opposed it, saying it would increase carbon pollution and the news soon spread onto social media platforms, grabbing the attention of and outraging many young adults. This is no longer just Alaska’s problem, but a global one. Approving this project would lead to numerous, irreversible environmental damage. 

The project had been in discussion for decades and was initially approved by the Trump administration but was reversed after a federal judge in Alaska pointed to the flawed environmental analysis, according to an article by Reuters. It wasn’t until 2018 when the development process took place that the project began its first stages where members conducted extensive scientific studies as stated by ConocoPhillips that later raised concerns about how it could affect the environment. The project was revisited earlier this year by President Joe Biden who approved it on March 13.

One concern is how drilling can occur in Alaska where, due to global warming, the Alaska permafrost is and has been rapidly melting, leaving the Arctic melting four times faster than the rest of the world. In turn, this leaves fewer areas to allow for drilling and could cause the permafrost to melt even faster if done so anyways.

ConocoPhillips then proposed to attempt to re-freeze Alaska grounds using chilling technology to continue drilling for more oil. Environmentalists are concerned this process would speed up the melting on a much larger scale. 

While this project would increase economic growth and potentially enhance energy security, it would also threaten species living in the Arctic and create massive gas emissions that will cause irreversible damage for years to come, in Earth’s already fragile environmental state. Researchers hypothesize that with this permission to drill at the site of Willow, the project would pump 287 million metric tons of climate pollution into the atmosphere. 

But we can slow down the damage. Since the recent approval, millions of people have sent letters to President Biden and the Bureau of Land Management to share their opposition to the project. Those in opposition encourage others to write to the White House and to get in touch with local representatives working toward climate change. For Hawaii, this could include Senator Brian Schatz.

For those concerned about the environment, opposing the Willow Project is not the only way to reduce carbon footprint. Invest in reusable products to lessen plastic pollution and buy locally to support community businesses instead of purchasing from mass-produced companies that focus on profit over environmental concerns. If you have the space, grow your own seeds, whether in a large garden or on your lanai. And lastly, throw away trash, even if it’s not yours.

One person can make a difference, but collectively we can make an impact. By utilizing these methods in your everyday lives, your contributions can help put a stop to this project and call to action to help the environment.

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(If reading the print paper, find these links on The Pinions website version of this article!)