Editor’s note: Guest blogger Emily Goldstein was a finalist in Oceana’s first annual Ocean Heroes contest in 2009 for her work to convince thousands of people and dozens of large companies to reduce their energy use, saving 16 million pounds of CO2.
Polar bears stand for everything that is wild and free, ruling over the Arctic as the creature we all associate with the North Pole. They are the apex predators in the Arctic, admired for their power and majesty. But the polar bear has recently become well-known for another, more deadly reason: they have become victims of climate change. Their world of ice is melting away, threatening their very existence.
In November I traveled to a remote town in northern Canada to talk with scientists about the polar bear’s perilous situation. Churchill is a village near the Hudson Bay, where ice first begins to form each year. This was my third visit there, but each time I go I feel even more privileged to be able to experience the world of the bears. The first time I looked into the eyes of a polar bear, I knew that I had to do something to save these amazing creatures from extinction.
The situation is very simple and very grim: polar bears need ice to exist. They need ice to hunt, to breed and to have cubs. But because of climate change, the temperature in the Arctic has increased enough to melt the ice they need to live. The bears I saw in Churchill were very skinny, and I was anxious for the ice to begin to form so they could hunt.
But is it too late to save the bears? No, there is still hope. When I was in Churchill, I spoke with Polar Bears International, an organization that focuses on saving the bears, and one of the world’s leading polar bear specialists, Dr. Steven Amstrup. They told me that they believe we can save the bears, but to do this we must work together to reduce global carbon emissions.
We can do this by using less energy, buying only recycled products, planting trees, and developing new, sustainable forms of energy. You can learn more about this on Polar Bears International’s website, and also on my website.
I have dedicated my life to saving the mighty polar bear, and I hope that you will, too. If we all work together, we can make the changes necessary to stop climate change. Please help me save the polar bears!
Emily Goldstein is a sophomore at the University of Louisville where she is studying ecology and biology. She wants to spend her live doing wildlife research and preserving endangered animals. She gives presentations to groups around Kentucky on her experiences with polar bears, and convinces companies to reduce their carbon footprint. People in Louisville now call her “the polar bear girl.”