Oil and Walrus Don’t Mix


We are the walruses. Photo: Carl Safina

I am the walrus. Really. This is no joke. I need ice. My baby depends on me. His world depends on ice. Ice. Water. Clams. Alaska—have you heard of it? It’s warmed twice as fast as the rest of what you call “the nation.” We have only “the world.” Only our world. Our sea ice is shrinking. Glaciers are shrinking. The ground is melting. The sea is warming. The sea is turning acidic from your burning. Acidic enough to be dissolving baby clams. Did I mention clams? Did I mention my baby?

We need ice to rest. We need ice to dive for clams. I leave my baby on the ice when I dive. The ice must be near the clams. If I leave my baby ashore, the clams are too far. If I swim to the clams to survive, my baby will starve. If I starve, he will starve. Already the ice has gone. Tens of thousands of us—our “nation”— dragged ourselves up on land. Our babies. Are dying.

Photo: Carl Safina

A company called Shell—like the clams have. It is coming. It will drill holes. Holes in our heart. The heart of our nation here in Alaska. Your nation calls it Hanna Shoal. We call it our soul. Heart. And soul. Shell will “explore.” We have for millions of years explored. We have been right here ten thousand. We know what we found. We found the soul of our nation in our time. We found bones of our ancestors, and our children’s future. We know less than you. But we know one thing that you do not know. We know this: We want to stay alive. We want, as much as you do, to stay alive. We work harder to stay —> Read More