Go to latest

Film Screening Connects Protection of the Arctic with Connecticut Insurance Company Decisions on Support for Drilling

Hartford, CT – The Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign, CCAG and Sierra Club are hosting a film screening and discussion of The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness this Thursday, July 28th at 6:30pm at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.

The 19.6 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are full of life and history. The land is home to hundreds of species of plants, birds, mammals, and fish. It provides subsistence and supports the cultures of Indigenous Peoples who have lived there for millenia  and has global ecological importance. This public land is at risk from immediate impacts of climate change, and from oil and gas development mandated by the U.S. government.

© 2020 Florian Schulz

Climate activists in Connecticut and elsewhere are urging the insurance industry in the state to play a role in protecting this land by ruling out providing insurance and financing for Arctic oil and gas drilling. Eighteen international insurers have made commitments that clearly articulate not insuring new oil and gas projects in the Refuge, according to the most recent Arctic Refuge Scorecard released by the Gwich’in Steering Committee (GSC).

Without insurance, drilling can’t proceed. The Hartford and Travelers Insurance, both with main offices in Hartford, are two of America’s largest insurance companies. Both companies currently have no policies ruling out the insurance or underwriting of oil and gas drilling projects that would desecrate the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a special place. It has been my life’s work to document this last great wilderness with the hope it will be preserved for future generations. There is no better venue to bring the wonders of the Arctic to life than on the giant screen,” said Florian Schulz, award winning nature photographer and cinematographer for the film. Read the full Cosmic Picture press release here.

“Every insurance company, every bank, every energy company must understand that development on our sacred land is as bad for business as it is for our families and the animals and resources we depend on to survive,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, upon the release of the scorecard.

The 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which has the longest migratory route of any land mammal in the world, and on which the Gwich’in and other Indigenous Peoples depend to sustain their people and culture. “Caribou are the foundation of our songs, stories and dances, and the basis of our identity and spirituality, culture and way of life. Our identity is non-negotiable and our culture is not for sale,” Demienteiff noted. 

“It’s long past time for Travelers and The Hartford to join the growing list of insurers that are adopting meaningful policies to prevent the worst impacts of climate change,” said Samantha Dynowski, State Director of Sierra Club Connecticut.. “Their climate commitments must rule out investing in and underwriting fossil fuel development, including oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.”

“This could be the coolest summer of the rest of our lives,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group. “Continuing to enable fossil fuels is a dereliction of duty to their, shareholders and to every person on the planet.” 

Activists hope this screening will advance awareness of the threat and opportunities to protect this unique land, along with Connecticut’s key industry’s role in its’ protection, or if they so choose through inaction, its destruction.

The event is free. Registration is required – sign up here: www.sc.org/ArcticFilm


The Connecticut Citizen Action Group, established in 1971, is dedicated to actively engaging the residents of CT in addressing consumer, environmental, economic and social justice issues. As a part of the Insure Our Future coalition, CCAG organizers have worked to hold CT-based insurance companies accountable for their role in the climate crisis, and call on them to divest their profits from the fossil fuel industry. Visit ccag.net.

Insure Our Future in the US is a campaign comprised of environmental, consumer protection, and grassroots organizations holding the US insurance industry accountable for its role in the climate crisis. It is part of the global Insure Our Future campaign, which promotes a rapid shift of the insurance industry away from supporting and financing fossil fuels to accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

Share this article