The Incredible, Unbelievable, Laughable Hubris of The North Face’s “Face” in its Arctic Fight

The Incredible, Unbelievable, Laughable Hubris of The North Face’s “Face” in its Arctic Fight

July 19, 2019

Power The Future reported on Wednesday that The North Face’s 2019 advocacy campaign was focused on engaging 13-17 year olds to sign their name to form letters that will be delivered to Congress, the Trump Administration and oil and gas companies who may be involved in drilling in the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  We noted the reasons why we found the campaign incredulous:  13-17 year olds’ political stances should be shaped by their parents, not corporate America.  Most Congressional members will completely overlook a form letter from a non-constituent (let alone a person of non-voting age).  Alaskans – not youngsters from across America and the world – will be the ones most affected if the tens of thousands of jobs associated with opening ANWR’s coastal plain to drilling is stymied.

Then, on Thursday, an article was published in Teen Vogue, attributed to Maia Wikler, one of the young adults The North Face had tapped to visit the southernmost areas of ANWR (not the coastal plain itself).  Wilker, from Philadelphia but now living in Vancouver, BC, Canada, self-describes as a climate justice fighter.  She writes, of her knowledge of Alaska prior to her two-week sojourn to the state:

“Before I traveled to the Arctic, I considered it to be a remote part of the world where scientists on expeditions gathered samples and photographed glaciers.  My limited understanding mirrored media depictions that show empty lands or pristine wildlife, a narrative that emphasizes a vast, untouched wilderness without the people who’ve long stewarded the lands.”

Miss Wilker then spends a few thousand words on what she learned during her time in The Great Land, ending her piece with a call to action (for those 13-17 year old females that make up Teen Vogue’s target audience) to donate to the Gwich’in Steering Committee or the Alaska Wilderness League – both of which are well-known to Alaskans for being anti-development zealots – while signing the form letter previously discussed.

With all due respect to Wikler and her fellow climate and eco-justice fanatics, spending two weeks in Alaska doesn’t give you an understanding of the interconnectivity of responsible development and daily life for our 730,000 citizens.  Meeting only with the Gwich’in, and not with the Inupiat – who actually live and subsist off of the coastal plain – shows the bias of your North Face-funded excursion, because the Inupiats’ support of ANWR development doesn’t fit the narrative you’re hoping to portray in the story. Not visiting the coastal plain – and sticking instead to areas hundreds of miles away from the proposed drilling sites – limits your understanding of the area.

But most laughably, not engaging whatsoever with any proponents for responsible development throughout the two weeks in the state shows the complete slant of the article.

Here’s hoping Teen Vogue’s editors are open to the Op-Ed we’ll be submitting to their magazine on the topics above.  Teens deserve to have both sides of a story told, because Maia Wikler and her friends who would damage Alaska’s future if their biased, slanted story led to ANWR being locked up, aren’t acting in Alaska’s best interest, nor in the interest of any youngsters who care about America’s place in the world energy economy.