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Sierra Club

Do you hear that?

Those loud cheers ricocheting throughout the country? That's climate activists screaming in euphoria.


And how can you blame them?

On Sept. 28, 2015, Royal Dutch Shell announced it's halting efforts to drill oil in Arctic waters off the north coast of Alaska.

Just a few months after the U.S. government cleared the way for the company to search for oil in the Chukchi Sea, Shell announced it'd be ending attempts to do so "for the foreseeable future."

"They had a budget of billions, we had a movement of millions," said John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK. "For three years we faced them down, and the people won."

Why are they backing out, you ask? Well, according to Shell, it's actually still about putting profits above our environment.

There's been a crazy amount of pushback against Shell for wanting to drill in the Arctic. Many orgs have come together to fight against it and publicize the many reasons why it's a horrible idea.

But sources from the company claim disappointing results from an exploratory well was the reason why it threw in the towel. (The project's projected massive budget and the U.S. government's complex regulations apparently didn't help either.)

So even if the company had been "surprised by the popular opposition it faced," as some say it has been, it didn't own up to it in the slightest.

Instead, Shell said it backed out because it didn't think it'd make enough billions to justify efforts. Hmm.

Photo via iStock.

This is great news (for basically everyone except oil executives). But it also means Shell still doesn't get it.

And that's all the more reason to keep the fight alive.

Although Shell has called it quits (for now), that doesn't mean the Arctic is off-limits. And there are plenty of reasons why it should be.

Take, for instance, the fact that icy conditions and little to no emergency infrastructure up there make an Arctic oil spill nothing shy of a nightmare to clean up.

Or the fact that any drilling of oil only worsens the effects of climate change.

Or the fact that Alaska's Chukchi Sea region is filled with wildlife that could be harmed by crude extraction — including polar bears, who use the area as birthing grounds.

Photo via iStock.

So how can you help keep Big Oil out of the Arctic?

You can fight alongside organizations aiming to do just that, like the Sierra Club. They've been devoted to keeping our earth green since 1892, and stopping Arctic drilling has become a top priority for the nonprofit.

"Wildlife like polar bears, seals and caribou rely on the Arctic's unique climate and pristine landscape for their survival," the group states on its website. "The consequences of an oil spill in this fragile wilderness would be disastrous, and we can't afford it."

Now's not the time to claim victory in our fight against Big Oil. It's the time to buckle down and get the job done for good.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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