Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Being Caribou, and a personal note

Just watched the documentary, Being Caribou, about a Canadian couple's five-month, 1500 km hike from Canada to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to follow migrating caribou. Their aim besides just going on the trip was to highlight the danger of oil field development in ANWR.

I highly recommend the documentary, it was a fascinating trip, and they had some great footage of wildlife and scenery (they saw wolverines, which I never saw in six summers in Alaska). While the couple had a slight New Age-y feel to their discussion about the caribou, it wasn't enough to get annoying, and they're very likeable. Their third partner on the trip was a plastic figurine of George Bush, who provided some comic relief.

One of my political heresies, though, is I'm not convinced that the caribou will be harmed by ANWR drilling. There's no evidence of harm in Prudhoe Bay, which has far more development than ANWR would. Nothing in the film changed my mind, although in their defense, it was an experiential film, not a science documentary. And while my best guess is drilling in ANWR would not be much of an environmental problem, I see no reason to rush in and disturb this pristine area - the oil's not going anywhere, so if we really need it, we can get it later.

The personal note - while this isn't a "personal life" blog, I just thought I'd mention that my girlfriend and I got engaged over the weekend, while snow-camping in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe. Karen's a very good sport and enjoyed our 8-day backpacking trip in Alaska last summer, but she informed me that for our honeymoon, we're not doing a 5-month backpacking trip like these people did. Oh well, maybe we can do a four-month trip.

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