10.26.2015

Dear Mr. President: Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 1


Last week, after over a month since visiting Kaktovik, Alaska and many hours spent thinking about my own potential contribution to protecting Alaska's Coastal Plain, I made a decision: The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project! 

For further explanation, you can scroll down for my complete letter to President Obama. I'm five days in and on a roll. I'll add additional images to this blog as the project unfolds and will collect them all as well at: http://polarbearpostcardproject.tumblr.com

That being said, stay tuned for many MANY polar bears in the next 62 weeks and a template as well so that you can send your own.

Enjoy!

*****

10/19/15
Dear Mr. President, 
Six weeks ago my family and I returned home from a trip to Kaktovik, Alaska. Tom Campion, who you know is passionate about protecting the Arctic, had graciously invited us along due to some cancellations by other parties. We jumped at the chance! The Campions know my wife Sarah through their philanthropic and conservation works here in Washington State, and I am a children’s book author/illustrator with a particular fondness for polar bears.
Having spent my elementary school years in Anchorage, the trip was extra special for the inclusion of our 12 year-old daughter Keeley, and for the opportunity to view this amazing place in the company of the Campions, author Terry Tempest Williams and her husband Brooke, and LatinoGreens founder, Mark MagaƱa. Truly, what were we doing on this trip? 
As you know from your own recent travels, Alaska is complex. It is vast and wild, but somehow fragile and precious. It evokes a curious mix of awe and empathy, and it leaves a lasting impression. You know the politics far better than I, and there are many sides and interests. Still, in the simplest terms, the 1002 and the unprotected areas of Alaska’s Coastal Plain have an immeasurable value far beyond their short-term life as a commercial good. This “one last place” needs to remain intact. 
Yes, it is important for polar bear den sites and reindeer calving grounds, for a diversity of species and for many other reasons of environmental nature, but it’s also important for “us” — as the greater extensions of Keeley and Sasha and Malia — as an example to the rest of the world that we can stop — that progress and change might mean finding a better way — and that saying “no” in permanent terms to short-sighted development will in fact spur innovation in other areas and directions — both for the country and for affected Alaskans.
I’ve been illustrating books for 15 years. I draw a comic strip in my local newspaper. I teach. I coach, and I volunteer in my schools and community. I have a quiet voice and a small platform — certainly nothing like that of our Kaktovik companions — but I also know that you are smart and that you seem to listen. So I bring you this, both as a serious outreach, and as hopefully something a little different to your every day: 
THE PRESIDENTIAL POLAR BEAR POST CARD PROJECT! From now until the end of your term, I will paint and send you five polar bear postcards each week! I know that Tom is bending your ear about protecting the 1002 — about preserving for all time a Monument status for something worth saving — so I am jumping into the fray with my best children’s book illustrator swagger. If a polar bear postcard five days a week keeps even a glimmer of hope alive — or provides an occasional pause for thought - then it will be well worth the effort. 
With many thanks for your service to our country, for taking the time to listen, and for your Presidential actions so far.
Sincerely yours, 
Erik Brooks
PS The actual letter looks likes this:







4 comments:

Dave Sabold said...

Both thumbs up, Eric!

Gary Bosley said...

Well done Erik!!

Gary Bosley
Librarian
Hawthorne Elementary
Kennewick, WA

Gary Bosley said...

Well done Erik!!

Gary Bosley
Librarian
Hawthorne Elementary
Kennewick, WA

Erik said...

Thanks very much Gary. Check back for the Student Template and send President Obama a post card or 10 from Hawthorne!