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For bears and the people that love them, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
<div id="b2c7f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a66711f5acee75ef45787edb3f12cc7"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1313660315893141504" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Match 11: Lardaceous Leviathan Levels Chunky Challenger The votes are in! You’ve crowned the Earl of Avoirdupois,… https://t.co/4SlXOpVBcH</div> — Katmai National Park (@Katmai National Park)<a href="https://twitter.com/KatmaiNPS/statuses/1313660315893141504">1602036000.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="bc390" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7ec387bc0962cc207aae4e2fa0a5488b"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1313513386878152705" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Today’s the day we will crown 2020’s Fat Bear Week Champion. Where 747’s sedulous quest for salmon secured him a st… https://t.co/tBnlt5eyCS</div> — Katmai National Park (@Katmai National Park)<a href="https://twitter.com/KatmaiNPS/statuses/1313513386878152705">1602000969.0</a></blockquote></div>
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.
Aerial view of the Tongass National Forest. Alan Wu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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By Scott L. Montgomery
The Trump administration has announced that it is opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development – the latest twist in a decades-long battle over the fate of this remote area. Its timing is truly terrible.
Years of Debate<p>ANWR is inarguably an ecological treasure. With 45 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds from six continents, the refuge <a href="https://www.amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins/earth/documentaries/reading-the-rocks-the-search-for-oil-in-anwr/essay-northern-alaska-rich-in-wildlife-and-oil/" target="_blank">is more biodiverse</a> than almost any area in the Arctic.</p><p>This is especially true of the 1002 <a href="https://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic/wildlife_habitat.html" target="_blank">coastal plain portion</a>, which has the largest number of polar bear dens in Alaska. It also supports <a href="https://theconversation.com/scientist-at-work-tracking-muskoxen-in-a-warming-arctic-70378" target="_blank">muskoxen</a>, Arctic wolves, foxes, hares, migrating waterfowl and Porcupine caribou, which calve there. Most of ANWR is designated as wilderness, which puts it off-limits for development. But this <a href="https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33872.pdf" target="_blank">does not include the 1002 Area</a>, which was recognized as a promising area for energy development when the refuge was created in 1980 and left that way after a 1987 study confirmed its potential.</p><p>Climate change is causing <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">especially rapid warming in the Arctic</a>, with probable negative effects for many of these species. Environmental advocates argue that fossil fuel production in ANWR will <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/protect-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge" target="_blank">add to this process</a>, damaging habitat and impacting the <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/07/02/in-arctic-village-gwichin-leaders-say-the-fight-to-stop-drilling-in-the-arctic-refuge-isnt-over/" target="_blank">Indigenous people who rely on the wildlife</a> for subsistence. But the situation is complex: There are also <a href="https://www.ktoo.org/2019/07/02/in-the-alaska-village-where-anwr-is-the-backyard-many-see-drilling-as-an-opportunity/" target="_blank">Indigenous groups who support ANWR development</a> for the jobs and income it would bring.</p><p>Energy companies' interest in ANWR, meanwhile, has risen and fallen over time. The discovery of oil at <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prudhoe_Bay_Oil_Field" target="_blank">Prudhoe Bay</a> in 1968, followed by <a href="https://www.cfr.org/timeline/oil-dependence-and-us-foreign-policy" target="_blank">two oil shocks in the 1970s</a>, sparked support for exploration and production in the region. But this enthusiasm faded in the late 1980s and '90s in the face of fierce political and legal opposition and years of low oil prices.</p>
A majority of Americas of all political leanings believe the U.S. should develop alternative energy sources rather than expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas. Pew Research Center, CC BY-ND
Is ANWR Oil Worth It?<p>Today the oil industry is facing its greatest set of challenges in modern history. They include:</p><ul><li>A collapse in oil demand and prices due to the global pandemic, with a sluggish and <a href="https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-market-report-august-2020" target="_blank">uncertain recovery</a></li><li>Companies canceling and reducing activity worldwide, with bankruptcies in the U.S. shale industry and <a href="https://energynow.com/2020/08/u-s-oil-gas-rig-count-falls-to-record-low-for-14th-week-baker-hughes/" target="_blank">drilling rig counts</a> falling back to 1940 levels</li><li>New uncertainty about future global oil demand as climate concerns push public interest and government policy toward electric vehicles, and automakers respond with new EV designs</li><li>The growing possibility of Democratic victories in the November 2020 elections, which would likely lead to policies reducing fossil fuel use</li><li>Increasing <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-barclays/barclays-pressured-by-shareholders-to-cut-fossil-fuel-financing-idUSKBN1Z700F" target="_blank">investor pressure</a> on banks and investment firms to reduce or eliminate support for fossil fuel projects.</li></ul><p>All of these factors compound the challenges of leasing and drilling in ANWR. Well costs there would be among the highest anywhere onshore in the U.S. Only one well has ever been drilled in the area, so new drilling would be purely exploratory and have a lower chance of success than in better-studied areas. Under these conditions, it would make more sense for companies that are active on Alaska's North Slope to pursue sites they currently have under lease, which pose much lower risk.</p>
Alaska's North Slope outside of ANWR remains rich in oil, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey assessment. USGS<p>What's more, as I have <a href="https://theconversation.com/large-scale-fracking-comes-to-the-arctic-in-a-new-alaska-oil-boom-75683#comment_1264055" target="_blank">argued previously</a>, it's not clear that there's a need to drill in ANWR. Energy companies have made new discoveries elsewhere south and west of Prudhoe Bay – most recently, the <a href="https://www.rigzone.com/news/pantheon_resources_makes_alaska_north_slope_discovery-13-apr-2020-161730-article/" target="_blank">Talitha Field</a>, which could yield 500 million barrels or more.</p><p>Companies that pursue leases in ANWR also will have to weigh the prospects of litigation, investor anger and a tarnished brand – especially large firms with public name recognition. Shell's experience in 2015, when it <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/09/28/shell-backtracks-on-controversial-arctic-drilling-plan/" target="_blank">abandoned plans to drill offshore in the Arctic</a> under heavy pressure, indicate what other companies can expect.</p><p>If Trump is voted out of office, I expect that a Biden administration would quickly move to <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/06/most-trump-environmental-rollbacks-will-take-years-to-be-reversed/" target="_blank">reverse</a> the directive for leasing in ANWR. In my view, this contested area will have far more meaning and value as a wildlife refuge in a warming world that is starting to seriously move away from hydrocarbon energy.</p>
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, thanks to protections put in place 60 years ago, has remained a pristine oasis in the most remote section of Alaska. Now, the Trump administration is finalizing plans to end those protections and to lease the federal lands to oil and gas exploration, according to The New York Times.
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By Jennie Gosché
In late 2019, before the world was completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was presented a last-minute chance to photograph polar bears outside one of the northernmost villages in the United States — Kaktovik, Alaska. It was an opportunity I couldn't refuse, and as the COVID-19 pandemic now stretches into summer 2020, I'm grateful I accepted.
Polar bears adorn the sign leading into Kaktovik. Jennie Gosché<p>Kaktovik is an Inupiat native village of around 250 people on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, located on barrier islands at the edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. My first trip there took place in September 2016, and I traveled with the purpose to photograph the <a href="https://www.usgs.gov/news/southern-beaufort-sea-polar-bear-population-declined-2000s#:~:text=The%20polar%20bear%20was%20listed,ice%20loss%20on%20their%20populations." target="_blank">threatened Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population</a>. The coastal region of the Arctic Refuge in fall is a special place to photograph these magnificent animals, as they congregate on dirt and sand spits of land waiting for the winter ice of the Beaufort Sea to make its way to the Alaska shore.</p><p>During the late summer and early fall, Inupiat boat owners from Kaktovik guide "tourist" photographers out to view polar bears from a safe distance in the placid lagoon adjacent to the raging waves of the Beaufort Sea. I joined one such group of photographers led by <a href="https://hughrosephotography.com/" target="_blank">Hugh Rose</a>, a professional photographer and geologist who lives in Fairbanks, and we took a short charter flight from Deadhorse to Kaktovik, landing in a morning snowstorm. But by afternoon, the sun was out and we had three and a half days of sunshine that combined with the ice and snow to create great conditions in which to photograph polar bears.</p>
The welcome sign at the Waldo Arms Hotel. Jeff Stamer / www.firefallphotography.com<p>We were out in the lagoon twice a day, breaking only for lunch at our hotel, the modest but welcoming <a href="http://www.waldoarmshotel.net/" target="_blank">Waldo Arms Hotel</a> owned by Walt "Waldo" Audi and Merlyn Trainer — one of only two options for places to stay in Kaktovik when visiting. The boat guides are skilled, and they have to be, because knowledge and awareness of depths in the lagoon is critical to prevent a boat from getting stuck in shallow water.</p>
Polar bear viewing is done by boat for the safety of both people and polar bears. Jennie Gosché<p>This trip we were in a boat with a heated cabin, a perk since we were there later in the season. Our boat driver, however, told us that at that very same time the previous year, the lagoon was completely frozen over. He shared this as we floated on the lagoon in open water, though ice was visible in places and we occasionally heard pieces rubbing against the hull of the metal boat.</p><p>____________________________________________________________________________________________________________</p><p>With rapidly rising temperatures, <a href="http://forestry.alaska.gov/Assets/pdfs/firestats/2019%20Alaska%20Fire%20Statistics.pdf" target="_blank">increases in wildfires</a>, thawing permafrost, receding glaciers, <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/11/21/new-report-sheds-more-light-on-climate-change-impacts-to-alaska-native-villages/" target="_blank">eroding coastlines</a> and disappearing sea ice, <a href="https://www.cjr.org/special_report/whats-become-of-arctic.php" target="_blank">Alaska and the Arctic are on the front lines of climate change</a>. It has hit Alaska's rural communities and <a href="https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/11/21/new-report-sheds-more-light-on-climate-change-impacts-to-alaska-native-villages/" target="_blank">Alaska Native villages especially hard</a>, including villages like <a href="https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/11/25/changes-in-climate-make-alaskas-traditional-ice-cellars-unreliable/" target="_blank">Kaktovik</a>. Warming waters and the disappearing Arctic ice cap are also impacting ocean life, from plankton to <a href="https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Polar-bears-face-swimming-to-land-or-ecological-trap-as-sea-ice-diminishes-567243261.html" target="_blank">polar bears</a> to whales. And the decline in sea ice is making it <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/environment/indigenous_impacts.html" target="_blank">increasingly unsafe for humans and wildlife to travel across it</a> to hunt marine mammals like seals, walrus and bowhead whales.</p>
Coastal erosion is causing permafrost to thaw and break off, here along the Arctic coastal plain in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska. Brandt Meixell, U.S.Geological Survey<p>The Inupiat are primarily subsistence hunters and whalers, harvesting whales each summer (in addition to caribou and other wildlife), the meat from which is shared by the entire village. It is a staple of their diet and has been for thousands of years, but as temperatures warm, the lack of ice combined with changes in whale migration patterns and timing could make hunting progressively more difficult.</p><p>The Inupiat <a href="https://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic/pbcommunity.html" target="_blank">share their whale meat with the polar bears</a>, something they have done for many years. This gesture provides much needed food for polar bears, especially as they spend longer periods of time on land due to the receding sea ice. When I visited Kaktovik in 2016, my most memorable photo is of a cub on top of whale bones, shaking what looks like animal skin in its mouth.</p>
Bears have learned to scavenge whale carcasses left over from successful whaling hunts. Jennie Gosché<p>As I returned to the village in late 2019, however, they had moved the bone pile away from the lagoon to an area off-limits to tourists. I was told the bone pile now only stays on land for a short time, and then the bones are pushed into the ocean. Eventually, this change could affect the overall health of the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, as many of them increasingly den on land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and utilize the shared whale meat for sustenance during the summer and early fall before they enter their maternal birthing dens in November.<br>____________________________________________________________________________________________________________</p>
Oil production facilities dominate the region around Prudhoe Bay, to the West of the Arctic Refuge. Florian Schulz / www.florianschulz.org<p>Helping to prevent development in the <a href="https://www.alaskawild.org/places-we-protect/arctic-refuge/" target="_blank">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> — a place that supports the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the entire circumpolar north — is very important to me, not least of all because the <a href="https://www.alaskawild.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/USGS-wildlife-report-statement-1-26-2018-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">U.S. government has admitted</a> it simply doesn't have enough information about the impacts of oil and gas development on the coastal plain to protect its wildlife and other values. Oil drilling <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2019/11/20/477495/trumps-energy-policies-put-alaska-climate-crosshairs/" target="_blank">will compound the devastating climate impacts</a> already being felt by villages in the region, increasing carbon emissions, worsening climate pollution and further harming front line communities.</p><p>Especially now, in the midst of an uncertain present and looking forward to an uncertain future, we need to press pause on Arctic Refuge development. Instead of recklessly rushing ahead, more research over extended periods of time is needed so that we can fully understand the potential impact oil drilling will have on local villages, our climate and wildlife like the majestic polar bear.</p>
A mother nurses her cubs. Jennie Gosché<p><em>Jennie Gosché has traveled to the Arctic seven times to photograph polar bears. Having visited the five countries where polar bears are found (Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, the United States and Canada), Kaktovik, Alaska, has become her favorite place to photograph them. Jennie's photography has been exhibited in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Maryland. She is a member of Alaska Wilderness League.</em></p>
<div id="d0ed7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ec99e5a42425af683ade8fd6b9374c90"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1285884824293646336" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">M 7.8 earthquake strikes 105 km SSE of Perryville, Alaska. Tsunami warning canceled. https://t.co/bUwKvi65Lg Le… https://t.co/DlORAa8a2I</div> — USGS (@USGS)<a href="https://twitter.com/USGS/statuses/1285884824293646336">1595413807.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="2555c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ff8223dcb0d414e1b97fafad5bfa5fd2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1285826396325949441" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Tsunami warning in kodiak AK https://t.co/pBio9lnWDF</div> — Tyler 🏳️🌈 (@Tyler 🏳️🌈)<a href="https://twitter.com/Tyler82092707/statuses/1285826396325949441">1595399877.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The warnings were canceled by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. However, a tsunami measuring 0.8 feet was reported in the city of Sand Point, according to CBS.</p><p>Because of its size and characteristics, Tuesday's quake had the potential to be devastating.</p><p>For one thing, it was shallow, measuring six miles, or 10 kilometers, deep, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/us/alaska-7-8-magnitude-earthquake/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported. </p><p>"Anything below 70 kilometers is considered a shallow quake," CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar explained. "That's important, because shallow earthquakes often cause the most damage, compared to the ones that are deeper, regardless of the strength."</p><p>Shallow quakes are also more likely to produce tsunamis, according to the <a href="https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-it-about-earthquake-causes-a-tsunami?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products" target="_blank">U.S. Geological Survey</a>. </p>
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers last week to say that it would not oppose or put a stop to a huge copper and gold mine near the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, as The Washington Post reported.
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In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.
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The Trump administration has attempted to plow forward with its plans to open up public lands to drilling for oil and gas exploration. To do so, it has continued to hold public meetings over Zoom. That means that Native American groups who often have spotty internet service or no service at all are not able to participate in the public meetings, according to The Washington Post.
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