Letter from Dr. Jane Goodall To Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


November 14, 2017

It seems that each day brings ever more dire news about what we humans are doing to harm our planet, the animals that share it with us and, by doing so, harming ourselves also. You have an important opportunity to make a difference both now, and for future generations, by voting to oppose oil development in one of the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas-the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This Refuge is a truly wonderful place – nearly 20 million acres of pristine and ecologically significant habitat. There is compelling scientific evidence as to why it is truly important to protect this place. For one thing, it provides key breeding habitat for the millions-upon-millions of birds that migrate there from six of our planet’s seven continents. It is also a calving ground for the 200,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd. And it is one of the most important denning habitats on earth for polar bears. Moreover it plays a significant role in helping to protect us from the onslaught of climate change.

But the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is more than that. Its very wildness speaks to our deeply rooted spiritual connection to nature, a necessary element of the human psyche. The Gwich’in people understand this and call the area “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins”.  If we violate the Arctic Refuge by extracting the oil beneath the land, this will have  devastating impact for the Gwich’in people for they depend upon the caribou herds to sustain their traditional way of life. Around the globe so many indigenous people have been harmed in the name of ‘progress’ – let us not add one more tragedy to the list. We have other sources of energy.

And so I beg you: Please use your voice and your vote as a U.S. Senator to protect the Gwich’in people and the American treasure that is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. America has helped lead the world in the conservation of wildlife and your voice has  been so meaningful in this regard, your example so powerful. Please take this opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the natural world and to future generations and stand with me to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Please vote against oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Dr. Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall, DBE, PhD
Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute
UN Messenger of Peace

Contact your representatives to let them know you do not want drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials



The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Jane Goodall is a passionate road warrior, traveling nearly 300 days each year on a worldwide speaking tour to raise awareness, inspire change, and encourage each of us to do our part in making the world a better place. Jane's love for animals started at a young age and in July of 1960, at the age of 26, she followed her dreams and traveled from England to what is now Tanzania, to bravely enter the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars, but with her unyielding patience and optimism, she won the trust of the Gombe chimpanzees, and opened a window into their lives for all to see. Jane's studies has taught humanity one of the most important lessons - that we humans are not the only beings on this planet with personalities, minds capable of thinking and above all, emotions. Her findings shook the scientific community and made us re-evaluate what it means to be human.