Defending the Arctic Refuge
"A stunningly beautiful, deeply heartfelt, powerfully convincing film on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Gwich'in Nation's struggle to defend the sacred place and their way of life arrives -- just when we need it the most."
- Professor Subhanker Banerjee [Scientist, Educator, Artist, Activist, Storied Arctic Adventurer]
"Inspiring, entertaining and educational. Don't miss it! They might be in your city soon."
- Artist Mary Little
"Kristin and Jeremy spent a majority of the late winter, spring, & summer out on the land traveling and talking with people to ensure that they had the images and voices from the front lines of the issue. Together they've been able to combine this knowledge of the issue, connection to the coalition, relationships with the people most connected with passion, dedication, and creativity to produce incredibly powerful videos."
- Dan Ritzman [Director, Lands, Water, Wildlife Campaign Sierra Club]
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in the northeastern corner of Alaska. The coastal plain of the Refuge is some the most important habitat in Alaska's Arctic. Every year, 40,000 caribou are born here. Every year, over 200 species of migratory birds stop here during their migration. Every year, this is the thickest polar bear denning site in Alaska. And every year, the coastal plain continues to be the center of a huge political controversy.
"What kind of life are we really living if everything is for sale and nothing is sacred? My people's culture and those elders, they're not for sale. My culture is not for sale. If somebody else wants to put a price tag on it, that's their misgiving, and it's their inability to see what true value is. Because I think this is much more than just five percent of the coast. This is one hundred percent of my people."
Chief of Old Crow, Yukon Territories, Canada
The Gwich'in live in 13 villages along the Porcupine Caribou herd's migration route in Northeastern Alaska and Northwestern Canada. They have been physically and spiritually tied to the herd for over 20,000 years. The Gwich'in rely on the herd to sustain and continue their way of life. Caribou are the main food source for most of the surrounding villages in the Interior. A threat to the health of the Herd or to the migratory pattern of the Herd is a threat to the Gwich'in way of life.
“There is no satisfactory substitute for the cultural, spiritual, and nutritional value that the Porcupine Caribou Herd delivers to the Gwich’in People.”
Thank you so much for supporting our work in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge! We wouldn’t have been able to take any of these steps without the amazing support we have received. It is wonderful to be a part of the large community that is standing with the Gwich'in Nation who have been working to defend the Refuge for decades.
Our media has been utilized by the Gwich’in Steering Committee, Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Bernie Sanders, the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and others, to advocate for the Protection of the Arctic Refuge.
Our footage traveled around the country in an exhibit with the Wilderness Society to encourage public action: https://www.wilderness.org/
Our media is also being used as part of a living map of the Refuge that Defenders of Wildlife is Creating.
“The Sacred Place Where Life Begins,” our 22-minute film, has been featured in over 50 film festivals around the globe and won numerous awards including “Best Short Documentary”, “Best Conservation Film” and “Best Cinematography. An edit we made for the Sierra Club and Gwich’in Steering Committee has over half a million views.
We are currently working on a second documentary in collaboration with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center to encourage public action to protect the Arctic Refuge.
We cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement and for helping us to raise awareness about how important the Arctic Refuge is. We plan to continue this work for the rest of our lives and we are grateful that your help enabled us to get started.