Decarbonize the Arctic | Letter

The Arctic region is a fragile and unique ecosystem that is being negatively impacted by the burning of fuels that contain carbon in large ships and small boats that are starting to use the Northwest Passage as a transit route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as the arctic sea ice declines.

The burning of carbonaceous fuels releases harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide and black carbon into the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change and exacerbate the warming of the Arctic. This is can accelerate the melting of sea ice, which is having significant impacts on wildlife, including polar bears and walruses, as well as Indigenous communities who rely on these species for food and cultural purposes. Additionally, increased shipping traffic in the region has the potential to cause oil spills and other forms of pollution, which would have devastating effects on the delicate Arctic ecosystem. The limited infrastructure and harsh conditions in the region make cleanup and remediation efforts difficult and expensive.

The increasing frequency of transits by large ships and small boats through the Northwest Passage is causing a range of environmental problems in the Arctic, including the release of pollutants, increased shipping traffic, and the potential for oil spills and other forms of pollution. It is essential that immediate steps are taken to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping in the Arctic and protect this unique and fragile ecosystem.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Peter Wilcox and Bridget Bayer from “Decarbonize the Arctic” will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Friday Harbor Sailing Club. Bring a potluck item to share and your own drinks and join us at the Grange starting at 5:30 pm. More information at and send questions to

Val Veirs

Vice Commodore Friday Harbor Sailing Club