"We need to save the Arctic not because of the polar bears, and not because it is the most beautiful place in the world, but because our very survival depends upon it."
Lewis Gordon Pugh- author, environmentalist
Without sea ice, we lose an entire ecosystem and losing that sea ice ecosystem results in losing polar bears. Arctic temperatures are increasing at least twice as fast as the global average and sea ice cover is diminishing by almost 4 % each decade. This is not just fear mongering among scientists and environmentalists. A disturbing new report from the US Fish and Wildlife Services warns that unless greenhouse gas emissions are decreased significantly polar bears may cease to exist in the next 35 years. Primary habitat for polar bears are ice shelves and ledges covering the Arctic Circle, Melting has destroyed a large portion of polar bear habitat in recent years. Unbelievably, The US government, under the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has recently given preliminary approval for Royal Dutch Shell to conduct exploratory drilling in an area where polar bear populations are suffering most. An oil spill could mean the extinction of not only the polar bear but an entire sea ice ecosystem our planet depends upon. Even without the threat of oil spills, the projected future sea ice losses means a stunning two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population could disappear within this century. Our current generation of children may never get to see or understand the life cycle contributions of a polar bear. Many more animal species are next.
According to Polar Bear International http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/our-work polar bear habitat loss and reduced access to primary prey due to climate change is the primary polar bear conservation issue. Polar bears also face increased pollution, disease, commercial activities, and inadequate habitat protection. Most polar bears live north of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole with some populations south of the Arctic Circle in Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada. Polar bears live in Greenland, Russia,and Alaska as well as islands in the north owned by Norway. So what is being done globally to prevent them from extinction? With polar ice melting population sizes are decreasing, ice platforms are moving farther apart creating hazardous swimming conditions and fewer hunting opportunities results in increased scarcity of food. The Office of Naval Research said the past eight years have had the eight lowest amounts of summer sea ice on record. In order to save the sea ice ecosystems we must reduce our greenhouse emissions. Governments need to do more. Corporations need to be held accountable. If not for ecosystems and our planet then for your children and your children's children who will suffer most. Demand action.
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