Drilling Willow

The Willow Project represents the convergence and paradox of a number of the challenges facing the world’s shift away from fossil fuels to address climate change: the rights of indigenous peoples living on the front lines of climate change, management of federal public lands, the entrenched policies that continue support fossil fuel development, and the challenges facing transitions away from fossil-based economies. This story, located in the most remote regions of the United States, often falls into well-worn arguments for and against this development as few have any meaningful connections to this place. A muddier picture of indigenous peoples’ vast and varied positions on federal land management has presented itself. How do we uphold tribal self-determination while also addressing our climate crisis?

Understanding the complex perspective of the indigenous people who call this place home begins with building a connection with the land and water of this place. This story will begin as an expedition on the Nigu & Colville rivers, beginning in the Brooks range and ending in the Arctic Ocean. Along this journey, we will visit leaders and community members of Nuiqsut, an Iñupiaq village, at the front lines of this development. Finally, we will visit the Willow project and witness the development already occurring in preparation for drilling. We envision this expedition to occur in the fall of 2022 or early summer of 2023, dependent on weather conditions. 




Thanks to our brand partner, 11th Hour Racing for supporting this project.