Planning your elective - Alaska
- By: Jean Adams
Amid much debate, the United States bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 for less than two cents an acre. At the time, many people decried the waste of public money. But in 1915 gold was struck and then, in 1968, oil. Suddenly the Americans began to realise the value of the “Alaskan purchase.”
Today Alaska still rides high on oil money. But even oil cannot solve all the social, economic, and environmental problems that persist in such a remote but resource rich area. The inhabitants maintain their position at the bottom of the socioeconomic and health scales and are finding the subsistence lifestyle, which many prefer, increasingly hard to practise. The fishing and logging industries have grown so rapidly that they now threaten to extinguish themselves; and the growth of the tourist industry is increasingly at odds with the scenery and wildlife it seeks to sell.
To work as an