Mountaineers Books Amplifies Voices for The Arctic

From the Cascades to the Himalayas, The Mountaineers has a long history of exploring nature’s wild unknown, and now we're doing our best to protect what's left of it. Mountaineers Books played an important role in educational campaigns that have helped to prevent oil and gas drilling in America's Arctic.
Mountaineers Books Mountaineers Books
January 03, 2017

On December 20, 2016, 115 million acres of the Arctic Ocean were protected when the US and Canada issued a Joint Arctic Leaders Statement launching actions to sensure "a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem, with low-impact shipping, science based management of marine resources, and free from the future risks of offshore oil and gas activity.” This action protects the wild Arctic Ocean ecosystem.

President Obama's December 20 action will prevent new oil and gas leasing in most of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, as well as part of the Atlantic Ocean. It also increases protection for the coastlines of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). These remote wild areas provide habitat for polar bears, whales, walruses, seals and seabirds, as well as subsistence resources for coastal villages that rely on the ocean for food.

Mountaineers Books, through our Braided River imprint, has played an important role in efforts to prevent oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. We've published seven books about the Arctic, including The Wild Edge, which focused on the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and On Arctic Ground: Tracking Time in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

In 2016, we published We Are The Arctic, a book of diverse voices and poignant images bringing the region to life and inviting readers to join the call for permanent protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In We Are the Arctic, veterans of the Vietnam, Afghan, and Iraq wars described the Arctic as a national treasure and a place symbolizing all the values for which they fought. Gwich’in and Inupiat community members talked about how their lives depend on food provided by the ocean and coastal plains, and for whom the Arctic is the essence of their spirituality. Leaders of national human rights groups shared their thoughts on the confluence of environmental and social injustice. Faith community leaders discussed the importance of wilderness and honoring creation. We were honored to tell their stories.

These conservationists, activists, artists, poets, and more than a dozen leading conservation photographers had one goal: for our lawmaker’s to know that everyday citizens across the American spectrum believe in the importance of the Arctic and want to see it protected permanently.

Donor support enabled Braided River to distribute 40,000 copies of We Are the Arctic across the country in an ambitious campaign to protect our natural treasures for future generations. We were active participants in the We Are The Arctic  coalition of national grassroots conservation groups and outdoor industry partners, led by the Alaska Wilderness League and Patagonia, which reached the highest levels of government.

This campaign generated more than 1.8 million messages from Americans to members of Congress and the White House. We Are the Arctic - both the book and the campaign -  made connections between indigenous communities in Alaska and Canada with Latino, African American, and faith communities who are fighting to protect the Arctic. 

We believe work like this is integral to our mission “helping people explore, conserve, learn about and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” and we were honored to lend our voice in such a significant way to the Arctic.  

Photo: Whale in the Beaufort Sea by Florian Schulz, from The Wild Edge: Freedom to Roam the Pacific Coast. 

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