"Who doesn’t care about polar bears and drilling for oil in sensitive areas?" asks Cory Jones, a volunteer with the Sierra Club in Chicago.
That's been an easy question for Cory to answer in the Windy City – not many people. She works specifically on wildlife and wildlands issues and has had great success getting her fellow Chicagoans active on protecting the Arctic from oil drilling.
For example, she recently held a huge party at the Chicago Nature Museum about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the importance of permanently protecting it as a National Monument. Hundreds attended and sent postcards to President Obama about the issue. And Arctic oil drilling is now a very real threat as Shell gears up to drill in the Arctic’s polar bear seas.
Cory’s next move on the popular issue of stopping oil drilling in the Arctic is to host a house party to preview an episode of the Discovery Channel’s new series Frozen Planet.
This spring, the Discovery Channel will air Frozen Planet, a miniseries in the tradition of Planet Earth and Life that will take us to both poles, bringing us face-to-face with the wild beauty of these amazing places. The Sierra Club is partnering with Discovery to promote the show by getting the public to house parties where they can watch the first episode and then take action.
"There is such a demand from people to learn more about this issue," said Cory. "I would say a large number of people in Chicago have probably never been to the Arctic or had any experience with it, but this issue is resonating with people here."
The Arctic's rolling tundra, wild rivers, wetlands, ponds, deep lakes and sparkling coastal waters are home to a stunning array of wildlife. Every year millions of birds from across the U.S. and around the world return to America’s Arctic tundra and wetlands to nest and raise their young. Caribou, musk oxen, wolverines, grizzly and polar bears roam the vast expanse of land while walrus, bowhead and beluga whales ply the Arctic waters.
Just the Western Arctic alone supports the calving grounds of our nation’s largest caribou herd, the highest concentration of grizzly bears and wolverines in the Arctic, and critical habitat for millions of shorebirds and waterfowl.
While Cory's Frozen Planet house party will be nowhere near the scale of the huge gathering she held last year, she still expects it to be an important action to protect the Arctic from oil drilling.
At the house parties, participants will have a chance to not only watch a preview episode of Frozen Planet, but to also learn more about the threats to the Arctic and then sign postcards to President Obama, asking him to protect America's Arctic.
Cory says it's these small events that can easily turn into big action - which is what the Arctic needs to protect it from threats such as oil drilling and climate disruption.
"These house parties can snowball into bigger successes," she says.