The polar bear looks likely to become the first animal added to the endangered species list because of climate change. As global warming continues to shrink the Arctic ice, the bears are running out of terrain and drowning with increasing frequency. Scientists expect two-thirds of the population to die off by the middle of this century.
As NPR reports, the Pittsburgh Zoo has handouts available at their popular polar bear exhibit. In addition to educating the public about the animals, there’s information about global warming and tips to minimize individuals’ greenhouse gas output by doing things such as reducing energy use and recycling.
What, you may ask, do polar bears have to do with carectomies? One of the many negatives of our car-driving is the associated contributions to global warming – both directly from the tailpipes as well as through other factors like the paved world we’ve created.
Unfortunately, for the next few decades, no matter what people do to counteract climate change, the summer sea ice will continue to decline dramatically, Meehan said.
"Even if we all stop driving our cars today, we’re not going to have a lot of change in the near term," Meehan said.
But, she says, cutting greenhouse gas pollution now and in the future will improve the polar bears’ long-term outlook.
"We want to do everything we can to essentially help the polar bears through this very difficult period, so that polar bears persist and that, when things turn around as a result of society making changes, the polar bears will still be in the environment and be able to take advantage of, hopefully, a rebuilding of the sea ice and a rebuilding of the ice ecosystem," Meehan said.