Permalink to this Image | Gallery of Rachel's Works 3 Essays Craig Coelen, Catherine Haggerty, and John Thompson | NORC, University of Chicago says: January 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm Geologists believe that there are 10.4 billion barrels of oil resting beneath the tundra in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve in Alaska; the high cost of fuel threatens this important animal refuge as oil companies seek access. Environmentalists argue that a web of pipelines and drilling platforms would harm calving caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds that use the coastal plain. Here the seagull seems at peace with the encroachment into the pristine Alaskan wilderness. Fletcher Winston | Mercer University says: January 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm In 2000, a study published by a global alliance of conservation groups called BirdLife International found that about 12 percent of the world's 9,900 bird species are threatened with extinction within the next century. Human activities that cause pollution and habitat loss are primary contributors to the problem, while global warming is an increasing threat. Climate change will likely alter many bird habitats and cause the demise of numerous species. In 1995 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change consisting of 2,000 scientists from 100 nations concluded that the earth is warming due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the air. However, the demand for the fossil fuels that release this gas when burned and contribute to global warming has not slowed. Pristine environments are degraded through oil exploration and drilling encouraged by powerful fossil fuel industries, government leaders beholden to these corporations, and Americans, who lead the world in consumption. While only 4% of the world's population, the United States contributes 25% of the carbon dioxide responsible for global warming. Nikita Kharlamov | State University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow says: January 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm The striking contrast between the beauty of Nature and ugliness of human activity – between the seagull and the crane – embodies our growing awareness of the fragility of our ecological system and the need for immediate action aimed at saving the Earth. This awareness has already resulted in various processes in society today. Growing numbers of organizations, such as Greenpeace, institutionalize people’s concern, gaining global scale and reach by effectively using mass media and communications to promote their values and ideas. This eco-shift affects the economic and political spheres, resulting, for instance, in numerous international treaties (like the Montreal protocol or biodiversity treaties) that directly influence economic and political processes and dispositions. You must be a Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize applicant to submit an essay response.