An Argument against Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve By: James Andrew Whitten Government Economics Heath Vincent March 5, 2013 America’s rank as the world’s leading superpower gives the nation unsurpassed clout throughout the rest of the world, but as the old saying goes “With great power comes great responsibility. ” Many other nations not only rely on America’s economy for their own country’s survival, but they also look up to America with a hopeful sense for the future.
The founding fathers of this great nation had excellent insight into the authority that America would one day possess, and thus they attempted to set many precedents that would lead the way for the nations that would choose to follow America’s example. Still today, every move that the American nation makes is carefully scrutinized by the other nations of the world. So, it is crucial that the United States ensure that as it moves forward, it does so with a noble and future oriented perception of its goals.
Thus, drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve would be a colossal mistake for the United States, because drilling would be detrimental to the pristine indigenous environment, it would have little or no beneficial impact on the American or Global economy, and would poorly exemplify the ambitions that America should have. For the past century, the global dependency on oil has progressively increased each and every year. Now, the world’s need for a steady oil supply is at an all-time high, but oil supplies are slowly dwindling day by day.
Oil prices have sky rocketed, the environment has been irreversibly damaged, and it is evident that this rate of oil consumption is completely unsustainable. So should America not be avidly searching for new sustainable alternatives to oil, rather than attempting to destroy land set aside for the very purpose of protecting it against such damaging procedures as oil drilling? The Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) is one of the many wildlife preservation efforts that great men in America’s past developed in order to preserve both the natural beauty of this great land, and the natural environment and its resources.
Humans are one of the few species that contribute nearly nothing to ecosystem in which they live, yet they devour gargantuan amounts of the resources around them. Gasoline is an excellent example of this. Americans are consistently obliterating the ozone layer through their emission of toxic pollutants from the gas they use every day in their cars. Yet, rather than address the unmaintainable way of living they have adopted by attempting to lower their consumption, they just expect more gas.
The American government should not allow this mindset to continue, and should aid its people in having a better understanding of their effect on the environment. This same greed carries directly over into the economic side of this situation too. Rather than accepting that ANWR only has enough oil resources to last for six months if the nation were to rely solely on it, and that the oil drilled would at the very most impact the oil price by three percent, Americans fool themselves into believing that ANWR can offer economic salvation.
The American people would like to believe that this oil will release the country from its unhealthy dependence on foreign oil, but the fact is there is nowhere near enough oil there to have any such affect. And, the only people who will find true economic gain from the oil will be the oil companies. Instead of being blinded by greed, America should fix the real problem, the inflated consumption of oil by the American people. Finally, as previously stated, many nations admirably look up to America’s great influence in hope of a better future for their own nation.
America should utilize this power to ensure that other nations also follow in a direction that will lead the world to a future that this current generation can take pride in. Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Preserve would have the exact opposite effect. By drilling in ANWR, America would be making a statement that it is perfectly acceptable to further destroy the world’s unstable environment all for the sake of greed. It would set a pattern that said no matter the circumstances of the area, no matter that it is a safe haven for animal breeding, and no matter that the people of the world need o truly reflect on the rate of their oil consumption, it is acceptable to drill anywhere that oil is found. Would the American people have been so ready to drill if the refinery were going to be in Yellowstone and the magnificent Sequoias would have to be demolished? No, it would be an abomination to even consider, and so the same mentality should be set for ANWR. Americans have always taken an abundant pride in their country. The founding fathers of the mighty nation developed a country that is far beyond what anyone could have imagined two-hundred years ago.
However, they too realized that all resources are not infinite and that there is great need to protect certain pieces of land for the sake of the future. Thus, they developed national wildlife reserves in the hope of setting aside land specifically for the purpose of preservation. The American nation needs to remember this, and maintain the ideals of those who came before them by looking to the future, not just the present. ANWR is meant for conservation, not more devastation.