Global Warming Key Topic Of This Year’s International Polar Bear Day
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April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The annual celebration of International Polar Bear Day is February 27. Polar Bears International (PBI) focuses the attention of the world on the bears, and actions that everyone can take to combat the challenges facing the bears because of global warming.
For the second year in a row, PBI is focusing the celebration around a worldwide Thermostat Challenge. The Challenge is one of seven action events in PBI’s Save Our Sea Ice Campaign (SOS!), which invites people around the world to raise or lower their thermostats—depending on where they live—by two degrees. They would like to see this become a habit for everyone. PBI also asks people to become involved in the fight to save the polar bears by speaking up to elected officials in support of energy-saving measures.
“Our research shows that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be gone by the middle of the century unless we take action to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Dr. Steve Amstrup, PBI’s chief scientist. “The Thermostat Challenge raises awareness of how our daily actions impact the polar bear’s sea ice habitat. By taking part in this initiative, we can lower our carbon emissions and show our commitment to action on climate change.”
People participating in the Thermostat Challenge are encouraged to post photos of their actions on the Save Our Sea Ice Community Page, where visitors can also commit to additional actions on the individual, community, and policy levels.
A Thermostat Challenge Toolkit has been developed for youth who want to do even more. This is the first of a series of community action toolkits developed in conjunction with the SOS! Campaign.
International Polar Bear Day and the Thermostat Challenge launch PBI’s Save Our Sea Ice Campaign. SOS! is a series of conservation challenges that stretch from International Polar Bear Day in February through Polar Bear Week in early November. The ultimate goal is to save polar bears by motivating people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing our carbon emissions can slow, or even reverse global warming, which causes sea ice to melt. Polar bears need sea ice to reach their prey—without it, they are unable to survive.
“These challenges are a great way to start making every day a polar bear day,” says Krista Wright, executive director of PBI. “We all make countless daily decisions that have an impact, and it’s important to remember that, collectively, they add up.”
As redOrbit reported last year, there are currently only 19 populations of polar bears, spread over five nations: the US, Canada, Russia, Greenland and Norway. The total population stands around 20,000 to 25,000 individuals. Sixty percent of the total population lives in Canada, while the other four nations split the remaining forty percent. As of last year, PBI reported that eight of the 19 groups were in decline, three were stable, and one is increasing. They have been unable to gather sufficient data on the remaining seven groups. The US, Russia and Canada have listed the species as either “threatened” or “of special concern.”