Absolute Necessity — A Group Blog
Victor Alm — Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo
Patty Young -Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Philip Fensterer — Oregon Zoo
Jennifer Funk — Pittsburgh Zoo
We had an opportunity to Skype with Dr. Stephen Amstrup, senior scientist for Polar Bears International, this morning. WOW!!! What a personable, professional, and knowledgeable man. Thank you again Dr. Amstrup for your time today and thank you for reminding us how important the ice is to the polar bear.
Opening a discussion about climate change with the fact that sea ice is an absolute necessity to polar bears is a great tool. The wild polar bear must eat seals and the seal cannot be caught except by ambush from an ice platform. Despite the evidence that sea ice is disappearing for the polar bear the argument of uncertainty versus reliability continues to be a hot data topic in the climate change debate. Although our climate clearly has been warming, we are still seeing natural variation in our weather causing times of both warm and cold weather patterns. This unfortunately has instilled a certain amount of doubt about the reality of climate change. However, the laws of physics require that as the amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere rise, heat trapping gas will cause the earth to warm. Without the mitigation of greenhouse gases polar bears will be part of our history and not our future. Alternatively, by reducing greenhouse gases we can make a difference with the sea ice levels needed for polar bears as well as make a difference to the many other species tied to climate change.
This is a powerful message that needs a powerful and effective approach when being delivered. One method we discussed today was using personal connection to our own lives and with those whom we speak with to convey the importance of this message. We experienced this method first hand today when we had a no cameras allowed polar bear moment. After seeing the bear on the tundra outside of the buggy, we were asked to safely stick our heads out the windows, close our eyes, feel the wind on our face, smell the air, and know that this is what the bear is also experiencing. Then, we were asked to think about that bear being gone forever, not just this bear today but all polar bears forever. This was a very moving and emotional for all of us. As leaders, it is an absolute necessity for us to leave this camp and take steps to create change in our communities
Stay tuned for more Blogs from Climate Change Leadership Camp.