Synopses & Reviews
- The most comprehensive, photographic documentation of the biodiversity and indigenous cultures of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- One hundred and twenty full-color photographs by author and photographer Subhankar Banerjee, winner of the prestigious Alaska Conservation Foundation Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award
- Essays by Peter Matthiessen and David Allen Sibley, among others
- The Subhankar Banerjee Project is supported by The Alaska Wilderness League, The National Audubon Society, and the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is America's Serengeti, comprising 19.8 million acres of land in the northeast corner of Alaska and adjoining Ivvavik and Vuntui National Parks in the Yukon Territory in Canada. Photographer Subhankar Banerjee, in collaboration with six essayists, presents a portrayal of a unique landscape made up of equal parts beauty and hazard. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last intact ecosystems on earth, is being impacted by forces that may change its existence forever: global warming and the encroachment of modern society through the potential for oil drilling.
Jimmy Carter, George Schaller, and Bill Meadows narrate the story with essays that delve into the history of the Refuge, the political battles past and present and the fragility of the ecosystem. Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer writes of the areas geological and geographical uniqueness while Debbie Miller describes the cultures of the Inupiat Eskimos and the Gwich'in Athabascan Indians. David Allen Sibley explores the prolific bird life and migrations at the refuge with an eye toward the delicately balanced ecology of the region. Peter Matthiessen, reflecting on his journey through the Refuge with Banerjee, passionately defends the need to preserve these lands and the people and the wildlife they shelter.
"There are extremely few places left on the planet that can be called truly pristine, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of them. With pictures and words Subhankar Banerjee documents that the great reserve is alive, containing ecosystems both unique within themselves and vital to migratory birds. America has a moral obligation to keep it intact for future generations."
Edward O. Wilson, Professor, Harvard University; two-time Pulitzer Prize winner; author of The Diversity of Life
"Please buy this book and share it with all your friends. I have looked deeply, deeply into the glorious spirit of the Arctic Refuge revealed in these magnificent images. My soul is enriched I am singing. We must strive to the bitter end to save this unique wilderness for future generations."
Jane Goodall, United Nations Messenger of Peace; founder, The Jane Goodall Institute; author of Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
"Breaking into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for a few barrels of oil, a wildly misguided perpetuation of colonial arrogance, has long been a centerpiece of conservative party politics in the United States. Subhankar Banerjee resists these totalitarian designs with beauty, our eras most suppressed topic of conversation. His testament implores us to love, not possess, and we could be no better guided in our actions."
Barry Lopez, National Book Award winning author of Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
"Captured on the pages of this wonderful book is every reason why every minute spent on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is worth it. The experience of this book makes you understand in your heart why the humanity of our culture is all the better because this glorious place breathes in its wild, untouched state."
Robert Redford, actor, director, producer and environmental advocate
Though beautifully illustrated, this is not just another coffee table book; the volume is a two-year photographic investigation documenting the necessity of preserving the Arctic land in its pristine state. 120 color photos.
It is a land of pristine wilderness, pulsing with life even in the depths of white subzero winter. Entirely unscarred by roads or signs, it is the place in all Alaska where the polar bear most often prefers to den. It is host to more than 180 resident and migratory bird species that journey from six continents and all fifty states to nest and rear their young. Because of the massive herds of Porcupine caribou who converge upon the coastal plain to calve each spring, it is known as the American Serengeti. To the Gwich' in people, who call the refuge their home, it is The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a touchstone for all people, one of the few remaining ecosystems on our planet unaltered by human impact, where true wilderness can still be experienced. But now the refuge is showing signs of global warming: immense McCall Glacier, measured to have lost more than thirty feet in depth in the last forty years; the northward march of the dwarf willow, moving at a pace not seen in 8,000 years; the alarming decline of the muskox, forced to forage where their calves are vulnerable to predators. And the refuge is further threatened by oil development, which would forever unravel the delicate pattern of nature found here.
Award-winning photographer Subhankar Banerjee devoted two years of his life to documenting the land, its wild species, and its Native peoples. With Inupiat guide Robert Thompson, Banerjee traveled 4,000 miles through the refuge on foot and by raft, kayak, and snowmobile during all four seasons. With more than 200 breathtaking color images, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land makes this case: leavingthe refuge intact in all its mysterious beauty is vital to the survival of this unique ecosystem. Banerjee' s photos are paired with six essays and a foreword by former president Jimmy Carter.
About the Author
Subhankar Banerjee is a free-lance photographer specializing in wildlife, environmental and cultural photography. His photographic career originated from his childhood passion for painting and his deep love and concern for the wilderness and disappearing indigenous cultures. Banerjee was born in India (1967) and received his Bachelors degree in engineering there (1989) before moving to the United States, where he obtained his masters degrees in physics and computer science (1994). Over the next six years, he worked with the Los Alamos National Lab (1994-1996) and Boeing (1996-2000) before starting his full time professional career in photography (2000-current). Now based in Bellevue, Washington, Banerjee is an avid explorer at heart and enjoys backpacking, backcountry skiing, climbing, and sea kayaking.
Banerjees outdoor and environmental education started with a Sierra Club group in New Mexico, while he was a graduate student. He later served for the group as outings chair and vice chair. Gila National Forest and other mountains and forests of New Mexico became the playground where he learned how to enjoy and respect fragile landscapes.
Banerjees images have appeared in publications of the National Audubon Society and the Wilderness Society; pre-publication excerpts from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land have run in Outside and Natural Wildlife magazines. Banerjees Arctic Refuge project was covered in a front-page article in The New York Times (June10, 2001). He has been profiled on CNN and on Seattles Q13 TV.His lecture credentials include presentations at the National Arts Club and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and The Wilderness Society and the Alaska Wilderness League in Washington, D.C.
Banerjee is the recipient of the Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation.
Table of Contents
Foreword / Jimmy Carter -- Introduction / Subhankar Banerjee -- In the great country / Peter Matthiessen -- Arctic legacy / George B. Schaller -- Our geography of hope / Fran Mauer -- Visiting the birds at their summer home / David Allen Sibley -- Arctic refuge; key to saving wild America / William H. Meadows -- Clinging to an arctic homeland / Debbie S. Miller -- Wild mercy / Terry Tempest Williams.