Video: Douglas Brinkley Eloquently Defends Alaska's Wilderness Video: Douglas Brinkley Eloquently Defends Alaska's Wilderness
The Planet

Video: Douglas Brinkley Eloquently Defends Alaska's Wilderness

by Ben Jervey

January 26, 2011

It's pretty common—in environmental policy wonk circles, at least—to hear the Alaskan wilderness talked about like it's some sort of bargaining chip. "If we allow drilling in ANWR, we can get a hard cap on utility emissions." Or "Such-and-such big logo environmental organization is willing to concede drilling off the Florida coast if Alaska is protected."

It's hard to actually fathom a place as distant, remote, and exotic as the Alaskan wilderness, and so it's far too rare that we talk about the importance of preserving it for its own existential sake.

On Morning Joe, historian Douglas Brinkley, did just that, offering an eloquent and thoughtful defense for the region's natural riches.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Brinkley spent time in Alaska while working on his latest book, The Quiet World, and is outspoken in his support for its preservation. Personally, I find it interesting that the two politicians most responsible for protecting the Alaskan wilderness over the years were both Republicans: Teddy Roosevelt, who first acted to protect the region from "hyper industrialization," as Brinkley puts it, and Dwight Eisenhower, who formally created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

You can only imagine those two great Republicans rolling in their graves whenever anyone chants, "Drill Baby Drill."

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
Join the discussion
Recently on GOOD
Sign up to receive the best of GOOD delivered to your inbox each and every weekday
Choosing hope over terror in Paris. @350 @avaaz
Video: Douglas Brinkley Eloquently Defends Alaska's Wilderness