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Sierra Club

What's a DJ got to do with the Alaskan Arctic?

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska contains caribou, grizzly bears, and (for a brief part of 2014) an iconic New Yorker named Paul Miller. He's also known as DJ Spooky.

He went with The Sierra Club as part of a small expedition on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act of 1964 is an especially inspiring law:


"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

Paul's interest in going is pointed. He says:

“This trip to the wildest edge of our nation will reveal the role of climate change today and how it impacts cultures that have endured for millennia. I hope to grow and capture my understanding of the journey to inspire others who may never make it to the wilderness along the Arctic coast."

Paul shares three lessons on his journey to the wildest edge.

1. Some resources are finite. Imagination is infinite.

We can use imagination to help solve challenge of fossil fuels and climate change.

GIFs via The Sierra Club.

“The imagination is the ultimate renewable resource," says Paul. The melting icebergs in the background indicate other resources are, perhaps, less renew-y.

2. Humans need breaks in wilderness.

Coming from New York City, Paul reflects on the intense pace of information in our daily lives.

Paul thinks, “We're going into information overload. There's too much of everything all the time."

3. Read the landscape to help make decisions.

In a tiny boat in the middle of nowhere, Paul reflects on the need to read the landscape like a text. This understanding could help us protect the wilderness.

“Every turn in the river, we have to make decisions," advises Paul.

Check out the rest of Paul's advice on taking inspiration from wilderness in this video:

We're at one of those turns in the river now.