Sally Jewell, Gaia & Arctic Drilling

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Sally Jewell is a former CEO for Seattle’s homegrown company that sells top flight outdoor gear, REI. In that role, her work for conservation causes earned her the Rachel Carson Award in 2009 from the national Audubon Society.

When President Obama nominated Jewell just two years ago to join his personal leadership team as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the Audubon Society published the following endorsement.

“Audubon welcomes Sally Jewell’s leadership to the top job in America dedicated to preserving our great national heritage.  Sally Jewell received Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award for good reason: She is a dedicated conservationist and a strong leader who understands that protecting our natural world goes hand in hand with a strong American economy.”

Relevant to Seattle’s angst over arctic drilling, as Interior Secretary Jewell is also the person who signed the order opening up a new corner of the Arctic Ocean for exploration by Shell Oil.

Her expertise to serve the national interest on this issue includes a degree in engineering and a stint early in her career working for an oil company. For some, this combination means she must be a corporate sell out.

But, how about the possibility she’s one of the best informed people about a topic that has Seattle tied up in knots? That’s our view. You can read our earlier input regarding Seattle’s slippery slope on arctic-sourced fuel in the previous edition of

Our perspective is reinforced by reading through the research basis for Jewell’s decision, the Final Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Chukchi Sea Planning Area pulled together by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and published earlier this year by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is available online.

It provides a new appreciation for the meaning of “negligible.”

In the global scope of global warming, the Shell operation is a drop in the bucket. And when it comes to petroleum products, it’s the metaphorical bucket Seattle drinks from.

If we can’t budge you from your evil thoughts about Jewell – or, us – how about taking a look at the new book by James Lovelock, “A Rough Ride to the Future.” Lovelock is a 95-year-old scientist from England who  devised the Gaia hypothesis.

No one we know will accuse Lovelock of being a shill for Shell. But, he thinks the “urban green” movement is on the wrong track.

Imagine the conversation if Seattle brought Jewell and Lovelock together?

Our city deserves more than political theater on this issue.

Here’s hoping nobody gets hurt as our “Kayactivists” set sail.