For the first time, Sundance Film Festival spotlighted a single theme, and it was climate change. Documentaries highlighting the issue including a sequel to Al Gore's blockbuster, as well as more than a dozen other films dealing with issues like coral reefs, recyling, changing landscapes and rainforest destruction.
Alaska and Hawaii
"As the global climate heats up, so do the ocean waters off Alaska, meaning big changes for marine ecosystems and bad news for some species."
Conflict is brewing over the leasing of oil and gas drilling rights on millions of acres of federal land, now that the pro-oil-and-gas GOP controls Congress and the White House. And one especially big battle to come? The one over opening for drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a dispute that raged for decades.
"Far above the Arctic Circle, one of the longest-running controversies in U.S. oil drilling is about to reignite. Bouyed by Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are pushing to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the frigid wilderness in northern Alaska that’s been a political battleground for drillers and conservationists for decades."
"The tiny village of Newtok near Alaska's western coast has been sliding into the Ninglick River for years. As temperatures increase — faster there than in the rest of the U.S. — the frozen permafrost underneath Newtok is thawing. ... Now, in an unprecedented test case, Newtok wants the federal government to declare these mounting impacts of climate change an official disaster."
"When a creature mysteriously turns up dead in Alaska—be it a sea otter, polar bear, or humpback whale—veterinary pathologist Kathy Burek gets the call. Her necropsies reveal cause of death and causes for concern as climate change frees up new pathogens and other dangers in a vast, thawing north."
"Less than a month after the Obama administration announced that it was banning offshore oil and gas production in most of the Arctic, there are signs that a place many conservationists regard as the crown jewel of the Arctic could one day be open for drilling."
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management issued four plans for management of 6.5 million publicly owned acres of Alaska’s eastern interior.
"A federal plan for the recovery of an endangered Alaska beluga whale calls for a reduction in threats of high concern while scientists try to pinpoint what has kept the population from growing."
"Miners huddled around them to stay warm through the long, cold nights in the Klondike gold rush of the 1800s. Artists have enshrined them in paintings and tourist curios. For many people in America’s far north, the old-fashioned wood stove — crackling and radiant, and usually cast-iron black — is as Alaskan as it gets. But many Alaskans also see their home state as a natural wonderland, where the expectation of bracingly pristine air is just as deeply ingrained."