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A Vacation Among the Glaciers


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!

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About alyssakinell

I am a senior Management and Spanish major at Bucknell University. I am originally from East Lyme, Connecticut and I hope to live in a big city after I graduate. If I could be anywhere, I would be on a mountain with fresh powder and hot chocolate. I am incapable of eating a meal without finishing it off with something sweet (generally ice cream).

Discussion

5 thoughts on “A Vacation Among the Glaciers

  1. I too share your love of nature and outdoors Alyssa. Although I’m not sure I agree with the climate you describe. A real passion I have is to go on ranch trips to the various ranches that my friends own. However, I have always wanted to visit Alaska for the same reasons you listed above. I think its really neat that Alaska has spent the time and effort to protect its environment so much with regards to the amount of protected wilderness areas and hopefully they will be able to keep this number up. Hopefully you will be able to visit sometime in the future.

    Posted by Patrick | March 21, 2012, 1:40 pm
  2. Alyssa – so glad that you chose to write about Alaska! Even though it is part of the United States, I feel that it is often overlooked even by our own country. It is on my list of destinations to visit as well. Similar to you, my sister traveled there a few years ago and came home with the most breathtaking photos. What intrigued me most about your post was the possibility of oil and gas companies benefitting from the effects of global warming on Alaska. I wonder if companies themselves have explored this possibility, as our case this week about BP demonstsrated that they have invested a lot of time and money into alternative energy projects and research. It will be interesting to see if companies in the future actually capitalize upon this less expensive alternative in Alaska as a result of global warming.

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | March 21, 2012, 4:44 pm
  3. I too love to be doing anything outside rather than stuck inside (like this horrible dorm room!). While I’m more of an in between the cold and warm ratios, say 70s, I much rather be colder than warmer. Layers are easy to add! The picture of the mountains and the deep blue water is magnificent. I didn’t realize that so much of Alaska is protected area. I hope the environment is able to stay protected as increased interest from energy sources emerge. In relation to your obsession with all things cold, polar bears and whales… check out Frozen Planet. It’s a new series on Discovery Channel that just started this past Sunday. I’m obsessed with it already.

    Posted by Danielle Marquette | March 21, 2012, 5:38 pm
  4. Alyssa, I have never been to Alaska but would love to go someday! I like the think tank article you included because it reminds us that preservation is important if we want to be able to visit these amazing places and let future generations have the same opportunities and experiences. LIke Alaska, other areas with amazing nature and wildlife are experiencing destruction and it would be a shame not to preserve them.

    Posted by Lauren Daley | March 21, 2012, 7:29 pm
  5. How do you love the cold?! I don’t get it.. But I’ll live with that one flaw of yours because I thoroughly enjoyed the information you presented in your post. It is extremely interesting to learn that some species could benefit from the global warming effects, like you mention. That is something I have never thought of, and although I do not intend to speed up global warming, I wonder what other kinds of benefits could be produced that we have not even considered. Ultimately, I always feared that global warming would present us with some unfortunate Water World-type living conditions! Thank you for that intriguing post, and please do us all a favor and turn off that fan in the winter!

    Posted by Derek | March 21, 2012, 7:59 pm

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