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In the spring of 2001, in an effort to persuade the United States Congress not to permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska (but instead to consider measures to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels), a book was published and distributed to members of Congress.

Titled "Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony," and modelled on a similar book published years ago to encourage the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the book includes writings by noted environmental authors and activists from both inside and outside of Alaska. Fifty percent of the editors' profits from sales of this book are donated to non-profit organizaitons supporting environmental and social health.

Contributors include Jimmy Carter, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Wendell Berry, Rick Bass, and Scott Russell Sanders. Libby's contribution, entitled "Another Country," appears below. Published by Milkweed Editions, the book is now available to the public.

Another Country

Refuge: 1. the state of being protected, as from danger or hardship. 2. a place that provides protection or shelter: HAVEN.

Refugee: One who flees, usually to another country, especially from invasion, oppression or persecution.

There is another country ~ beyond our need to fuel cars or computers or tanks, beyond industry, beyond "national defense," beyond politics.
There is another country ~ a place where wildness exists unmolested.
There is another country ~ where caribou calve and nurse, where people sing and dance in honor of the caribou that keep them alive.
Another country ~ what some call the "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," what those who live there call " The Sacred Place Where Life Begins."
Another country ~ that will be lost forever if we do not protect it from invasion.
If we turn the inhabitants of this country into refugees because we cannot control our consumption, there is no "other country" to take them in. There are no sacred places left to which they can escape.
They are the canaries in the mine of the world.
Be careful.
Our souls need another country.

Libby Roderick
Singer and Composer
Turtle Island Records
Anchorage, Alaska
© 2001