Why that feeling you get when you see iconic American natural wonders is actually patriotic
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Sierra Club

In the far northeast corner of Alaska, with no roads going in or out, lay nearly 20 million acres of wildlife refuge.

It's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest national wildlife refuge in the country.

Its goals are very specific: to conserve animals and plants in their natural diversity, to ensure a place for hunting and gathering activities, to protect water quality and quantity, and to fulfill international wildlife treaty obligations.


It's a beautiful place. And recently, Michael Brune of the Sierra Club was lucky enough to visit it.

During his trip up to the Arctic, he realized some important things.

All images via Sierra Club.

Contemplating the refuge, Michael says:

“One of the things that defines our country is the vast areas of magnificent wilderness that we have."


"These are part of what the American experience is."

"Protecting the Arctic is really about protecting and enhancing what it is that makes our country what it is."

America is made up of so many beautiful natural landscapes like this one.

The Grand Canyon. Niagara Falls. The redwood forests. These are just a few of the attractions that are not only cherished by us, but are admired by people all around the world.

Protecting them isn't just a noble cause, it's downright patriotic.

Why? Because these are a huge part of what makes America, well, American.

If this "America is our wilderness" theme sounds familiar, it's because you've probably heard it before. Henry David Thoreau spoke in 1862 of the importance of wild spaces left to decay and flourish.

When Michael Brune talks about wilderness, it's as if he is channelling some of America's great naturalists and most passionate environmentalists — like John Muir or Teddy Roosevelt, two founders of the Sierra Club.

Wilderness has been important to Americans for a long time. Hear Michael's voice in this video, tying our American identities to the wild places we protect:

Puts it in a kind of unique perspective, no?

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Nicole Abate, a Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico, starts her workday around 5:00 a.m. During her 20-minute drive to work, she gets to watch the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains as she sips her coffee.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," said Nurse Abate. "A lot of us need a little calm before the storm."

Nicole | Heroes Behind the Masks Presented by CeraVe youtu.be

In March 2020, after a fairly quiet start to the year, Nurse Abate's unit became the official COVID unit for her hospital. "It went full force after that," she says. Abate was afraid, overwhelmed with uncertainty, never knowing what was next on the wild roller coaster in this new territory, "just when you think ...we know exactly what we're doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that's part of nursing too." Abate faced her responsibilities courageously and with grace, as she always does, making life a little better for patients and their families "Thank you for taking care of my father," reads one recent letter from a patient's family. "You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful."

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Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Nicole Abate, a Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico, starts her workday around 5:00 a.m. During her 20-minute drive to work, she gets to watch the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains as she sips her coffee.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," said Nurse Abate. "A lot of us need a little calm before the storm."

Nicole | Heroes Behind the Masks Presented by CeraVe youtu.be

In March 2020, after a fairly quiet start to the year, Nurse Abate's unit became the official COVID unit for her hospital. "It went full force after that," she says. Abate was afraid, overwhelmed with uncertainty, never knowing what was next on the wild roller coaster in this new territory, "just when you think ...we know exactly what we're doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that's part of nursing too." Abate faced her responsibilities courageously and with grace, as she always does, making life a little better for patients and their families "Thank you for taking care of my father," reads one recent letter from a patient's family. "You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful."

Keep Reading Show less