International Polar Bear Day, Climate Change America vs Canada – It’s a wRAP, February 25, 2011

Sunday, February 27th is International Polar Bear Day!

Photo credit: Norbert Rosing

According to the National Wildlife Federation, about 25,000 polar bears remain in the wild today, with that number dwindling because of pollution, poaching and in large part global warming. In 2008, the US declared polar bears “endangered” due to climate change, as the polar bear’s habitat changes as summer Arctic ice disappears. There is no plan for helping the species survive, rather a recognition of the facts contributing to its precarious existence. Talk to your kids this weekend about the polar bear. A majestic creature, the polar can live over 40 years in captivity and around 25 years in the wild. The polar bear has become the “poster child” for the consequences of human caused global warming and the recent and accelerating changes in the Arctic that are threatening the polar bears habitat are important to discuss and understand.

Photo credit: A. Jennis

As reported in Scientific American at this week’s gathering of scientists for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, scientists expressed “bafflement as to why the global research consensus on human-induced climate change remains contentious in the US.” Well funded campaigns that sow doubt as well as media disinformation, and the current political and cultural context all seem to drive this “dissing” of the facts. As a Canadian and American, I’m not sure if a recent survey by two Canadian organizations, the Public Policy Forum and Sustainable Prosperity are suppose to make me feel bad, good, sad or happy, or maybe just cry. The survey found that 80 per cent of Canadians polled said they believe there is solid evidence of global warming, compared to only 58 per cent of Americans. Around the world, the percentage of people that recognize global warming as a real, human caused concern, is more similar to that of Canadians, rather than Americans. Yet as one of the greatest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, American need to listen to the facts, not media and lobbyist spin.

In Climate Mama News this week we featured a “guest post” from Kitty Holman who shows us 5 ways our children’s schools can be more environmentally friendly. In our Video Peek of the Week our friend Peter Sinclair brings us a fun video you can share with the kids in your life that helps explain the difference between “weather and climate.” As the Rodale Plastic Free Challenge winds down, we’d love to hear from you on things you learned, or want to share. For us, the challenge was eye opening, as we realized how pervasive plastics have become in our lives and how hard it will be to wean ourselves off of them.

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