It’s almost always cold in Churchill, Manitoba, a remote coastal community on Hudson Bay in Canada’s subarctic region. Today, a month before winter officially begins, it’s -25 degrees C with a fierce wind coming off Hudson Bay which is thick with slabs of ice. Situated in the middle of Canada, it’s the world’s largest saltwater bay. And even though frozen solid eight months of the year, the bay sustains the nearly 800 residents of Churchill which is known as the “Polar Bear Capital” of the world.
By mid-September, the Royal Dutch Shell Oil (Shell) group hopes to begin exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of northern Alaska, provided it can secure federal permission from the U.S. government and overcome other logistical obstacles. But a prominent environmental group warns that drilling will do "irreparable damage" to the area.