It’s the 27th of February, International Polar Bear Day!
International Polar Bear Day comes from Polar Bear International “as a day of action to reduce carbon emissions”.
The aim is to raise awareness of the conservation status of the polar bear, and the impact climate change is having on them due to reduced sea ice. This day is to inspire everyone to reduce their carbon emissions.
The largest land carnivores, polar bears, eat a diet mostly made up of seals which they hunt using their incredible sense of smell. They can find seals in the water below the snow from a distance.
Living mostly solitary lives, polar bears roam vast areas searching for food. Their biggest threat is climate change; they depend on sea ice to hunt and it’s melting. The IUCN classify them as ‘vulnerable’ on their Red List. They are also threatened by oil and gas exploration, oil spills, pollution in the sea, and conflict with humans.
What is climate change?
Basically, it’s a long term change in the global climate of earth.
The overall temperature is rising due to gasses produced when we burn fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal..) it’s astonishing how much we rely on these fuels; they are used in transport, manufacturing, heating…. The gas scientists are most concerned about is carbon dioxide, but other greenhouse gasses are involved such as nitrous oxide, and methane from farming and land fills.
This video from TED-ed explains how the Arctic acts as an early warning system, and what the consequences may be if we don’t act to reverse the change.
Here are a few ideas on how to reduce your carbon emissions:
- Drive less
- Insulate your house
- Turn down your thermostat
- Buy local
- Install low energy lights
- Turn off electronics
- Use renewables
- Plant a tree (trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen)
- Dry clothes on a line
- Grow your own
- Only run your washing machine when it’s full
There are more ideas in this video What you can do about climate change by PICSClimateInsights. It’s made for people in British Columbia, but whether you live there or not it has good ideas like car pooling.
Use social media to spread the word! Polar Bear International has a page of resources for this purpose.
You can also calculate your carbon footprint here on the WWF website.
The Guardian article about Polar bears migrating where there is more persistent sea ice
WWF on the Polar bear
WWF Artic programme – more about why the Arctic matters, the threats, the wildlife and what the WWF are doing thre
Arkive on the Polar bear
WWF on What is climate change
New Scientist on climate change
NASA on climate change – lots of great content here
Food for thought:
Video on How climate change affects the economy
Short climate change film narrated by Morgan Freeman
Col. Chris Hadfield talks a bit about climate change in this video An Astronaut’s View of Earth on Veritasium’s YouTube channel.
Armed with this knowledge, I hope you are inspired to act.
Image source: USFWS Photos used are listed as public domain