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Polar Bears Are The New Panda Bears

by Eva Amsen

The US government has declared polar bears endangered, and their main threat is global warming.
Environmentalists rejoice, because this makes it more likely that government attempts will be made to fight global warming: it will be illegal to threaten the polar bears’ existence, polar bears need ice, so it will be illegal to knowingly contribute to melting ice caps. Of course there are going to be all kinds of loop holes, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Who is complaining? Hummer owners? Coal mine magnates? No, it’s Nunavut.

The Canadian province of Nunavut insists that polar bear populations are high as usual, and the animals are not threatened by extinction. They’re sticking their heads in the sand (or snow) about the bears’ iceless future because they plan to kill them in another way: Nunavut is a prime destination for the ridiculous sport of polar bear hunting. Many tourist hunters are American, and will no longer be allowed to kill polar bears under the new law, causing Nunavut to lose money. It’s always about money. So, Nunavut is submitting their comments to the US government, who will probably and hopefully not be all that impressed. “Where’s Nunavut?” they’ll likely say, and use the letter as scrap paper. (After all, with their new environmental angle they’ll be all about “reduce, reuse, recycle”)

Here’s an article in the Toronto Star with predictions for the earth in 2050. That’s only 43 years from now. I plan to still be alive at that point, and these are some of the things we can expect if nothing changes:

Rising sea levels and the spread of deserts have forced as many as 200 million people to seek new homes as environmental refugees. They’re flooding into Europe, North America and Australia.

Malaria is spreading because mosquitoes that carry it can survive in more areas, but the disease hasn’t yet reached Canada.

International tourism will have shrivelled because of restrictions on air travel – which by now is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases.

Warm winters long ago wiped out Europe’s ski industry. Now, Rocky Mountain resorts in Canada and the U.S. are going under.

The Netherlands, after centuries of wresting land from the sea, has had to give much of it back. Thousands of people are living in floating communities.

(Regarding the title, I know they’re not called “panda bears“, but it sounded better this way.)


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Shelley January 3, 2007 - 10:05 PM

Is the US allowed to just declare a whole species extinct? Despite that you can still go see them running around?

Eva January 3, 2007 - 11:18 PM

Blah, I meant “endangered” – that other word with the E. Changing it now.

Shelley January 5, 2007 - 5:57 PM

*grin* I wondered if that was the case.

stephy February 11, 2007 - 8:02 PM

i love panda bears there so adorable i hate them coming to a end 🙁

Northern Canadian Polar Bears May 15, 2008 - 12:00 PM

Its amazing how ecologists and the whole industry can make such a teddy bear type character out of a rather violent animal
I think polar bears are great
They should be protected
The town of Churchill , Manitoba Canada has a wonderful polar bear tourism ecological niche
Tourists from North America and around the world come every year to see the polar bears out of the safety of the “Tundra Buggies”
Global warming is reducing the ice shelf – on which they live, hunt seals and den to raise their young
Loss of this habitat is happening faster than anyone could have imagined and its getting worse
Polar bears should be protected
However the polar bear is not a cute and cuddly animal

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