Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony

Hank Lentfer, Compiled by, Carolyn Servid, Compiled by
Hank Lentfer, Compiled by, Carolyn Servid, Compiled by Milkweed Editions $14 (118p) ISBN 978-1-57131-264-8
Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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Yoking an activist desire to influence the debate surrounding proposed oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the rapid publication now possible with e-book technology, Alaska residents Lentfer and Servid solicited, compiled and completed this powerful collection of 31 essays, letters and poems in eight weeks. The contributors, who range ""from global leaders to nomadic hunters,"" attest to the ecological diversity and spiritual sanctity of the 18 million-acre wilderness, home to caribou, bears, wolves, eagles, wolverines, foxes and ravens, and the 15 villages of the Gwich'in Indians. The most piercing entries range from a brief, plainspoken ""Letter to the President"" by conservationist Margaret Murie (whose efforts led to the formation of the refuge in 1960) to the hope of a Gwich'in woman, Faith Gemmill, that her children will take their sustenance from the caribou and ""listen to traditional teachings in their own traditional language,"" as she has. Wildlife biologist Bill Sherwonit lyrically describes the habits of pregnant polar bears, while Bill McKibben warns that an ""oil spill may not happen in [the Refuge], but it will definitely happen in the atmosphere"" when any extracted oil is burned, and Barry Lopez eloquently suggests that we must reign in the adolescent impulses that fuel our consumer economy if we are to solve the dilemmas posed by our ravenous oil consumption. FYI: Presented to Congress on March 27, and publicized in a joint effort with the Alaska Wilderness League, this e-book precedes a trade edition coming in June (Milkweed, $15 paper ISBN 1-57131-264-1).n
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