Iconic Images Offer Pristine View of a Threatened Arctic

In Frozen Treasure: Defending the Arctic, National Geographic photographs help our audience learn about the diverse Arctic ecosystem that is threatened by plans to drill oil and gas wells in Alaskan waters and beyond.

A bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) surfaces in the Arctic Ocean.
A bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) surfaces in the Arctic Ocean. (Vicki Beaver / NOAA)

This page was published 8 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

Every month a new issue arrived. I opened the cover and sat, transfixed, until I closed the last page and added the yellow-spined magazine to my family’s collection. There were words, but really it was the photos that drove the fascination. Every new picture asked me to think about the world and dream about my place in it.

I grew older and became a photojournalist. I developed my own collection. I learned the photographers’ names.  As my collection grew from the magazine to books the photographers created, the wonder created by the photos only became stronger.

When Earthjustice press secretary Betsy Lopez-Wagner told me she wanted to create a photo essay about the Arctic and the threats facing this top-of-the-world wonderland, I went straight to the photo source that had enthralled me since childhood: National Geographic.

If every photographer’s dream is to shoot for National Geographic, then certainly editing Nat Geo pictures must be a close second. In Frozen Treasure: Defending The Arctic, National Geographic images help our audience learn about the thriving and diverse Arctic ecosystem—and the greedy oil companies that threaten it.

As my colleagues and I were scouting an array of amazing images by National Geographic photographers we came across a TED talk by the legendary Paul Nicklen. He has made it his lifelong mission to protect the Arctic with his images, and his passion for this wild place is evident in the talk. We share Nicklen’s love of the Arctic, and it’s an honor to feature his photographs on our website.

Please take a few minutes to check out Frozen Treasure: Defending the Arctic. Share the story with your friends and take action to prevent arctic drilling that threatens the regions’ animals, people and landscape. The arctic is a magical place, too special to be run over roughshod by greedy oil companies. If anyone should be exploring the northernmost reaches of our planet, it should be National Geographic photographers. 

Chris Jordan-Bloch is a photographer and filmmaker for Earthjustice. He uses videos, photos, audio and words to tell the stories of Earthjustice and the people and places we fight to protect.