2011 28 x 45” 70.5 x 114 cm Acrylic on Canvas
The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth. As ice melts, it exposes dark water which absorbs the sunlight, and accelerates warming. As oil prices rise, and this once solid covering of ice retreats further north each summer, the oil companies are moving in. They are moving into one of the most productive ecosystems on earth. With 24 hours of sunlight during the summer life thrives, with creatures from birds, to fish, to whales migrating thousands of miles to take advantage of the summer buffet. As fall sets in and the light fades, the temperature cools, and most of the creatures leave for more pleasant climes. With the winter cold the Ocean once more becomes sealed in a layer of ice.
If there was an oil well accident in late summer, the oil company may not be able to cap the well before the ice set in in early fall. In that case the well could not be capped under the ice, and the oil would flow unchecked until late spring of the following year when the ice melted, and work could begin again to repair the leaking oil well. Clean up would be virtually impossible, because there is no way to clean up oil trapped under the ice, by spring the scale of the disaster would be unprecedented, and there would be almost no equipment available in the Arctic to help with the clean-up.
An oil company in response to concerns expressed by some local Inuit peoples, built a ship to position itself by their oil rig in case of a potential spill. Yes, that’s a single ship. During the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as many as 6,500 ships were trolling the waters skimming for oil. Well, good luck with that boys!