What is the Willow Project?

Isabelle Ede

Sustainability Editor

What is happening to our planet? If you haven’t lived under a rock this past month, you probably heard of the Willow Project. Ever since Tik Tok has been flooded with awareness posts (at least mine has) so much new information has been discovered and shared with the public concerning the details of this project. But let’s start from the beginning. The Willow Project is an oil drilling project that has been approved by the Biden Administration to green light more drilling in Alaska. Since 1923, most of Alaska has been occupied by American oil drilling companies. Regardless if it’s oil drilling, the occupation of this land brings forth an important social issue: what about the native people? All the land that companies buy is less land for the indigenous tribes who often hold little or no say at all when it comes to rightful occupation. In the North-East of Alaska, there is a town called Nuiqsut where an indigenous tribe lives. The people of Nuiqsut rely on two major food sources to survive, caribou, and fishing. The current oil drilling occupation contribute to the warming of the Arctic. Not only does the melting affect seashore risings, but it also affects arctic wildlife, meaning that those fish that the Nuiqsut depend on might disappear much faster than anticipated. ‘Don’t worry, there is still caribou’ said no one since the presence of oil companies up there isn’t just low-impact wells, there are roads, facilities, giant tricks that pound the ground in order to detect where the oil is, called “thumper-trucks”. All these disturb the caribou and can disrupt their seasonal practices. Let’s never forget the chance of major gas leaks and ironically enough, the company that is spearheading the Willow project is the company that had a major gas leak last year that got many people sick. The biggest problem with the approval of this new Willow project is that it will only lead to more projects which will lead to more boats which leads to more spills. However, it should be mentioned that the company for this project, Conoco Philips has a good track record when it comes to boat spills. All of that truly doesn’t matter, because the most frustrating part of this whole ordeal is the fact that Willow won’t bring any oil to market for 10 years. The reasoning that politicians had when trying to ouch for this project was that the United-States needs this source in order to main and even strengthen the flow of oil and energy. What they pushed for wont even have immediate affect! You are not the only one feeling all this frustration, in fact, thanks to all the social media awareness, people have directed their energy into making more posts or signing petitions (if you wish to know where, it is this site: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-willow-project). There are almost 1.5 million people who have signed it already! More good news is that other companies and organizations are suing Conoco Philips for undertaking this project. While many Americans directed their hate towards the Biden Administration for not following the environmentally conscience promises they made before being elected, others believe that the company itself should take all the blame. Nevertheless, the only way to stop this project is to continue to talk about it, educate oneself and be on the look out for more petitions to sign because at the end of the day, it will take collective effort to save our planet.

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