There are two things you may not know about me: First, I would rather be outdoors than anywhere in the world. When I was sixteen I went on Outward Bound in Colorado, which is a program where you live in the mountains for three weeks and backpack. Now, that was REAL camping! Before doing this program I had no idea how much I truly loved being outside in the fresh air. Second, I prefer cold weather over warm weather. In fact, I kept my window fan in all winter long here at Bucknell. This is probably because I grew up going on summer vacations to Maine and winter vacations skiing in Vermont. Case in point, I love the cold.
These are only two reasons why I have always wanted to go to Alaska. Other reasons are that my grandparents made a tradition out of going on Alaskan cruises, and their pictures always looked amazing. Another is that I feel like I have seen so many amazing sites outside of the U.S., but I still have not traveled our country as much as I want to. I honestly do not know what could be cooler than boating alongside glaciers, which is one of the main tourist attractions. On these charters the tourists usually see bears, sea-lions, and probably the one thing I have always been mesmerized by- whales. I remember when my parents first tried to describe to me how big a whale was and I simply could not believe that those animals on the television screen could be that enormous. Anyways, it has become my dream to go to Alaska on a cruise through the glaciers.
The Think Tank I found to be most relevant and useful is the Harvard Kennedy School Library, which I found through On Think Tanks. On this Think Tank I found a document from 1993 titled “Box 1-G Climate Change in Alaska: A Special Case”. I started reading through it and it provided some statistics that I found to be interesting, and even added to my reasoning for wanting to visit Alaska. According to the document, “68 percent of Alaska’s land base is protected in wilderness areas, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests…” I found this surprising, but at the same time in looking back at what I picture being in Alaska, it really is just amazing views and endless mountain ranges.
It was also interesting to learn about the melting of sea ice in Alaska. Global warming is a huge issue and I can’t help but get upset when I see those commercials of the polar bears trying to grab on to the ice that breaks- such a tear jerker! Reading about the issue occurring in a place where not only is the environment important, but such a large portion of their inhabitants’ work life is dependent upon it (23 percent employed by seafood industry) makes the issue seem even more severe. The article then goes into the potential losers of this global effect and potential winners. One particular winner I found intriguing was that the oil and gas industry may benefit from global warming because if the sea ice is reduced, less expensive offshore structures could be used and the costs of marine transportation would decrease as well. I also found it interesting that it said some species, in particular, polar bears, may benefit because of increased productivity in vegetation. I would have thought they would be the species that would only be negatively affected, especially because of all of the media made surrounding polar bears.
This Think Tank seemed to have very thorough information, and the articles I looked at were well-written and organized in such a way that it was not necessary to read every sentence. For this reason I think this Think Tank could be very useful since many of the articles are in outline form, which makes it easier to find what you are looking for. There were many options to choose from when I searched “Alaska”, so it was nice to have a very large selection. The information did seem comprehensive, and I learned some new things about my ideal destination!