Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- What's up with the Polar Bear?

Polar bears. Simply beautiful animals. And huge. Adult males can weigh 880-1500 lbs with females weighing in at approximately half that size. They are, in fact, the largest carnivorous land animal on earth and live primarily on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. They are ferocious hunters despite their oh-so-cute and cuddly appearance, feasting on a diet of mostly seals. But, polar bears' existence is severely threatened. According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), "Scientific evidence is overwhelming that the polar bear is in mortal danger as the Arctic sea ice it depends on for survival melts away." We need to protect this amazing animal. Researchers are predicting that by 2050, polar bears will be gone from Alaska along with roughly 67% of the world's total polar bear population. During the last 30 years, a chunk of Arctic sea ice, the size of approximately six Californias, has disappeared. As the world gets hotter due to global warming, the ice in these areas melt and it is melting fast! Some scientists say that the sea ice that the polar bears live on could be gone by 2040; some even say it will vanish by 2012!

The other, more deliberate threat, is the desire to drill in the Arctic. Bulldozers, oil rigs and inevitable oil spills will kill these amazing creatures. Certainly I would like to lessen our dependence on foreign oil but I'd prefer to do that by lowering consumption, not by drilling in the Arctic. Arctic drilling is not the answer. It would take approximately 10 years to extract the oil and refine it for use. Furthermore, the amount that we can obtain would only represent 3% of our daily consumption- not enough to warrant destroying precious ecosystems and wildlife. Besides, our addiction to oil is the heart of the problem and by fixing that - by changing habits, buying smaller cars or hybrid cars, and using more clean energy, we CAN reduce our consumption and that will eventually reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Recently, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar adopted a Bush-era policy that that allows for pro-polluter loopholes, further preventing the government from using the Endangered Species act to protect the polar bears. The NRDC is currently in court fighting to get the Interior Secretary to use the Endangered Species Act to help protect the polar bears from the melting ice AND the Arctic Oil Rush.

What can you do? First, try to reduce your "carbon footprint" to help slow the warming of the earth. There are some great, very easy suggestions at www.stopglobalwarming.org (Laurie David's site).

Second, go to the NRDC website, read more, learn more, sign their petition and donate money- they are fighting the tough fight and need everyone's support. We donate 1% of all our revenues to the NRDC every quarter. We believe that they are strongest organization that is actively fighting to make this world a better and healthier place with 1.2 million members, 400 attorneys, scientists and other professionals that advocate, support and help fight their causes. Take action!

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