This is a post by Troy Baker, an environmental scientist in NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration.
Chromium, manganese, zinc.
Elements like these may show up in a daily multivitamin, but when found in a certain form and concentration in water and soil, these elements can cause serious problems for fish, birds, and wildlife. As assessors of environmental harm from pollution, we see this scenario being played out at hazardous waste sites around the country.
When I’ve heard residents of the Alaskan Arctic speak about the potential impacts of an oil spill, I don’t hear any lines of separation between the oil spill causing injury to the environment and injury to the community.
Their discussions about the potential harm to walrus or seals inevitably include how this will impact the community’s ability to hunt for food, which affects both their food security and traditions. The cultures of these communities are inextricably tied to the land and sea.