THE EFFECTS OF HUMAN INDUCED GLOBAL WARMING ON POLAR BEARS
This map shows how much the polar bears habitat has diminished.The dark outlines show where the ice used to be
Two-thirds of all polar bears are at risk of extinction by 2050
The word is out!Rumor has it human activities are responsible for the increase in arctic temperature, according to the International Panel on Climate Change .The Arctic ecosystem relies on the cold climate to maintain stability.As monthly temperature averages slowly increase, summers become warmer and the ice covered waters are breaking up prematurely. Average air temperatures in the arctic have increased 5 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years .To top that off, as a result, the ice extent, or length of time before ice melts has decreased 14% since the 1970’s .Many authorities on the topic predict that by the year 2080 arctic summers will be ice free !The world of the polar bear revolves around the presence of ice.It is the ground they walk on, the basis of their homes, and the platforms they feed from.Increasing climate spells extinction for polar bears!
In order to relieve their hunger, bears scavenge new grounds to find food.Imagine opening your front door to retrieve the morning paper only to find a polar bear lounging on your steps.Human bear altercations are a growing trend .Involuntarily, the food deficit in polar bears natural setting is forcing these animals to find alternate feeding grounds.As the Polar Bears recede northward they begin to encounter food in populated villages.Despite various tactics to rid their presence including firecracker use and attack dogs, if the bear deems a community dumpster its food source, little can be done to stop its wandering.
Pack your things kids we’re going on vacation.The Polar Bears of the arctic are doing just that.The amount of ice in the polar region can be compared to the size of the
In another scenario, ice recession has limited migration.The bears are forced to “stay home.”Often, leads (cracks between ice panels) are melting and drifting farther apart.Leads that used to be close in proximity spread so far apart that the bears become stranded .The bears migration capabilities are then limited.The end result is an overpopulation for a given area causing increased feeding competition.
So you see, migration, feeding and reproduction are all related and affect one another.Bears are being forced to migrate from their prime feeding areas; as a result they are malnourished and weigh less.Lower weights in polar bears are directly correlated with a decrease in reproduction. Also the shortened feeding results in cubs with smaller birth weights and higher mortality rates.
As we have learned, the climate changes are correlated with human activities which result in greenhouse emissions.Although no one person can turn the effect around single handedly, every effort counts.Here are ten things you can do at your household to help control the greenhouse effect.
- Take shorter showers and use a water efficient shower head.
- Turn off your computer screen if you are away longer than 10 minutes.
- Turn off you televisions!
- Wash your clothes with cold water and air dry ( if possible) as opposed to electrical drying.
- Use compact fluorescent lights
- Plant you own vegetable gardens.
- Wear a sweater when you house is cold instead of turning on the heater
- Use solar or high efficiency gas
- Insulate your home well
- Use a lid when cooking food instead of cooking with the lid off.