About polar bears…
There was this Operation Maneater project on PBS last night: presenting in premiere the Polar Bear, one of the three series. The most disturbing scenes were the poor bears eating garbage at the “dump stations” of Northern Canadian Inuit village Arviat (see more in the news).
And then they had these extremely expensive “solutions” of putting bears in ‘jail’ – no, I am not kidding! – and transporting them by helicopter back into the wilderness, far away from the dump site. Should we call this a dumb solution (pun intented)?
Photo courtesy of PBS.org
There was a superficial reference to the times when the native Inuit lived in peace for centuries with polar bears… although they were also hunting them as it was needed. It made me think about this: when the Inuit/Eskimos lived the traditional life of hunting and fishing, without our influence on their lives, everything was OK because there was a balance. Like with all peoples that live close to mother nature.
However, today, when they (I mean the Inuit) also eat “civilized” food, i.e. packaged processed food wrapped in plastic (that would be found in the stomach of polar bears) and when they need to have a dump for the disposal of all that garbage that we are accustomed to… it’s time to re-think WTF are humans doing in the polar bear’s territory? Every claim about the romantic dreams of living the “traditional life-style” becomes a joke when you watch these arctic dump sites full of the 21st century’s usual garbage!
My thought of the day: get out of the bears territory and move South if you want the convenience of the “civilization” and let the bears live their life.
Finally, a side note for the bleeding-heart animal lovers. It was scientifically established that the bears eating our garbage in the summer months did not fare better then the bears which followed the eternal cycle of starving and losing weight during in the same period, before the ice comes and they can go hunting for seals. So, no, there is no need to feed the wild animals, they can take care of themselves – just get out of their places…
2 thoughts on “About polar bears…”
Very informative post, i’m regular reader of your site.
If polar bears can move inland and ssfecuscully compete, they will survive. The fight is not to save the animals though. It is much larger. It is to maintain the ecosystem. Ecosystems are all connected loose one and all the others have to take over it’s functions someway. If that is the case, then the remaining ecosystems may be less tolerant of “shocks” and relatively small perturbations could result in large losses of human welfare.Ecosystems tend to migrate much more slowly than the current rate of climate change allows. The cryosphere is very sensitive to the changes that are happening (this is not just the Arctic and Antarctic, but galciers and permafrost too). Sea ice will not migrate at all but it has some very important functions . This ecosystem will be lost and along with they effects if has on the ocean and climate. This could have a huge impact on temperatures, rainfall patterns, ocean salinity, and where currents run. This loss will likely accelerate climate change. Sea ice is just a start. Permafrost is also melting and releasing methane and CO2 and an ever increasing rate. This already has affect tundra life. I heard a piece on NPR about the increased frequency of freezing rain. Freezing rain is rare in the arctic. Snow is the norm. Freezing rain only occurs when liquid rain falls the freezes. This has killed of large herds of caribou because they can break the ice to get to the foods beneath (lichens and mosses). What else is it affecting? What does the loss of caribou mean to other species? If the frequencey of such events increases, it could be hard on lots of different species in ways we don’t know. Less permafrost also means “roads” are impassible for much longer stretches. This will affect the oil an gas industry for example (my god, we have to stop it now! I don’t want to pay more at the pump because it cost more to maintain roads. Give them a tax break!). It is very hard to know what exactly the consequences will be when you mess with mother nature. And there are lots of “unknown unknowns” that may happen. Some good, others not. Are you a gambling bunny? Isn’t is only intelligent to slow things down to have some time to see what the effects are?Glaciers are melting at an historically fast rate and the water in rivers will be affected when they are gone. River flows will decrease. This has an effect on fisheries (you know salmon), drinking water, irrigation, and ground water levels. It affects the amount of water available during the growing season for forest and will lead to extreme fire dangers as drought, insect and disease outbreaks increase. All of this affects people. It reduces development and increase the cost spent to protect forest and fight fires.Slowing the rate of change down to natural levels gives ecosystems a chance to adapt more easily. Plants are adapted to the natural rate of climate change controlled by the Malankovich cycles, For example, balsam fir reach as far south as Virginia during the last ice age. It only reaches to NY state now. But, some Frazier firs remained after the ice started to receded after the last ice age. It evolved from balsamr fir. Still very cold hardy, but a little more heat tolerant too. However, it is very unlikely to survive the most rapid increase in the heating the earth has seen in at least the last 10,000 years and maybe the last 650,000 years. It makes no sense to piss away our ecosystem resilience without some idea of what the results will be, especially when we know how to preserve it. It can be summed up easily as use some common sense!
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