Friday, October 7, 2011

Many conservationists and climate experts have had their eye on Greenland to measure climate changes, and the effect of global warming on ice melt. While most know to associate Greenland with ice, a recent blog post by ecologist Curt Stager highlighted how vast the ice sheet truly is.

"Recent measurements show that there's enough ice in Greenland to build a symmetrical cube measuring roughly 90 miles on a side. It could fill nearly 700,000 cubic miles of volume-space and it covers an area three times the size of Texas." Stager states in the entry.

Despite the good intention of the post, some may discriminate Stager for admitting that the ice may not be melting as some have assumed it is. A fan of an honest opinion myself, I admire the research. That said, I would consult a few opinions before settling on the subject. I do admire Curt's final statement however...

"Despite the relatively slow pace of polar deglaciation, the choice we face today remains clear. If we switch to non-fossil fuels within the next several decades, a fair bit of Arctic ice will likely survive, perhaps along with polar bears and other ice-dependent species. But if we blaze through our remaining fossil fuel reserves, we'll de-ice the polar regions, submerge huge stretches of coast, and cover low-lying islands for thousands of years to come."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Missed the Boat

More serious blogging will return shortly, but let me take this moment to start next years Christmas list, with this HD Polar Bear.

Via Gizmodo

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Summit

Leaders and passersby of the Copenhagen Climate Summit would be hard pressed not to notice the growing crowd around a large, bronze, ice-covered polar bear skeleton melting under the elements. The Summit brought together more than 115 world leaders to discuss our earths changing climate, and the animals like polar bears who are already paying the price. While hundreds of topics were brought up and hashed out, the list was reduced to a few hard-to-ignore topics which leaders could then discuss in greater detail. The list includes the Kyoto Protocol, the possibility of a climate treaty, climate finance sources, emissions reduction, and deforestation. For the full list and details check out this great story from the UK Guardian.

Now, back to the polar bear sculpture itself. As soon as the sculpture was erected I was watching the live stream and getting teary-eyed at its awe inspiring symbolism. Yes, there was a live stream set up 24/7 so that interested patrons from all over the world could literally watch the polar melt little by little. The sculptures creator, Mark Coreth was first inspired to create the bear skeleton and its icy fur after an eye opening trip to a Northern Canadian island where he witnessed and learned about melting arctic climates. Several prominent figures publicized the sculpture, most notably British actor Stephen Fry who was eloquently quoted saying "Polar bears and their habitat should be meltingly beautiful, not melting away,"

Read more about the Ice Bear and Copenhagen Climate Summit here, and here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breathing Room for the Bear

I love this New York Times piece from yesterday! It discusses the Obama administrations proposal to set aside 200,000 square miles of Alaskan waters for the polar bears. Loving the positive polar bear views coming from Washington lately. Read more below.

The Obama administration’s proposed designation of 200,000 square miles of Alaskan waters and sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear is not just encouraging news for the bear. It signals a more sympathetic attitude toward endangered species, and is further evidence that the secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, will take a more measured approach than the Bush administration to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

After much prodding by the courts and its own scientists, the Bush administration listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. But it deferred the required designation of protected habitat — the area deemed essential to the survival of a threatened or endangered species — partly because doing so could have torpedoed its grand plansto open millions of acres of prime polar bear territory in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to oil and gas exploration.

Mr. Salazar is now reviewing those plans. Though a pre-existing Shell Oil lease in the Beaufort will be allowed to go forward, it seems highly unlikely that Mr. Salazar would authorize major oil and gas development in territory that his own Fish and Wildlife Service has identified as crucial to the bears’ future.

The designation of critical habitat does not automatically bar commercial activities like oil and gas drilling. It does mean that such activities, if they occur on federal land or require a federal permit, cannot go forward without intensive review by agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service, which can limit them or prohibit them.

The biggest threat to the bears is, of course, the gradual disappearance of the sea ice where it lives and hunts, which in turn is linked to global warming. The Endangered Species Act is not designed to solve the problem of climate change, a global problem. It can relieve an already-burdened animal of the added stresses that widespread drilling would surely bring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good news atop a sad note: US to seek tougher protections for polar bear

The United States Interior Department filed an official proposal asking other countries to support a ban on the commercial trade of polar bears, and more strictly enforce any legal polar bear hunting. The proposal will need a lot of push to become fully accepted, as polar bear protection is often controversial due to their spot as the first species to become endangered for the reason of global warming.

The trade market for polar bear parts and furs has reportedly increased since the 1990's. These stats, paired with an animal at risk of extinction gives significant reason to put forward a ban.

If voted in, the proposal would also update protections put into effect in the 70's by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) which required permits to export any polar bear or its parts. Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife said "While we cannot stop the impacts of global warming on polar bears immediately, one thing we can do is quickly address other threats which are heightening the bear's problems, such as the commercial trade. By increasing protections for polar bears under CITES, we can start to give the polar bear some more protections while we take the necessary steps to address global warming," The proposal will be voted on by a total of 175 Nations this upcoming March, which offers a considerable period of time to build steam on either side.

Read more about this proposal at and and I will be sure to update on how you can help.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

As the Ice Shrinks, So do the Bears

I was overwhelmed with sadness today when I read about the latest discovery about polar bears- they are getting smaller. A comprehensive study done on 300 polar bear skulls, comparing skulls from the early 20th century to from more recent skulls show they have changed in both size and shape.

Cino Pertoldi, a professor of Biology and lead scientist of the study, states "Because the ice is melting, the bears have to use much more energy to hunt their prey... Imagine you have two twins - one is well fed during its growth and one is starving. (The starving) one will be much smaller, because it will not have enough energy to allocate to growth."

While this news is devastating it is still, in a way, good news. Every shred of evidence we find to help prove that the effects of global warming are killing wildlife and the planet is another shred to push lawmakers to do something about it. Christian Sonne, a veterinary scientist who worked with the team, said that the samples have provided them with an entire century of evolutional development for polar bears., making them a "fantastic sample". Sonne goes on to say "Polar bears are one of the most polluted mammals on the globe."

Which reminds me. Have you signed this petition, from If not, do it!

And to read more about the study on shrinking polar bears, read this article from the BBC.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Would you drink polar bear tears?

When I first read about the marketing campaign Tappening by former members of the advertising industry a few weeks ago, I was excited. Now that I've seen their campaign ads, I am even more excited. They try to raise awareness about the importance of conserving water, and encourage you to drink tap, or filter your own tap water, as opposed to drinking bottled water.

They have created several "ads" (some of which have semi-lies to express how the marketing and advertising industry stretch the truth of their products to get them sold) which express their objective. As we all know, bottled water is taken from fresh-water springs or glaciers to insure fresher taste, whilst stealing arctic habitats from under the feet of those wildlife living there (or destroying ecosystems with invasive machinery, disposed water bottles, etc...).

It is interesting to note that they created a couple of ads targeted at presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Mccain, saying they had a "drinking problem", which was of course bottled water. After winning the election, they published a congratulatory ad to Obama, as well as a sincere thank you for taking up their challenge and switching to tap.

See my (obvious) favorite ad of theirs, below.

Here are a couple more:

Read more about Tappening and how they got started, here.