Anne (netmouse) wrote,

Saving the Polar Bears

I just got a letter from the NRDC telling me what is by now an all-too-familiar story: Polar Bears are drowning for lack of ice to rest on, starving for lack of ice to hunt on. Cubs die in dens that collapse from unusual rain and insufficient cold to keep the tundra sturdy.

The answer, we are assured by Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and the NRDC, is to make sure the government extends to polar bears every legal protection they can, and prevent Evil Oil People in Alaska from further eliminating the polar bear habitat, and furthermore we need to try to stop global warming.

But wait, I say, if the problem is that they need floating ice (and some people say this is increasingly our problem too, since ice melt speeds global warming by reducing the reflectivity of the planet), why are we aiming tons of effort at the human legal system? That's not going to save the drowning, starving bears, or protect their poor cubs.

Protecting Polar Bears as an endangered species will keep trophy hunters from shooting them, yes, and may help preserve their habitat.

But what we really need to do is figure out how to manufacture floating ice. Or some usable simile of floating ice that has similar temperature, reflectivity, and usability for both Polar bears and their prey, and that we can maintain in their habitat for the period they need over the course of the year. Probably we could do something clever tapping into underwater temperature differentials to cool the "ice" without having to burn fuel or anything stupid like that. And human-manufactured ice could be designed never to freeze in over the heads of drowning polar bears and dolphins.

While we're at it, we could also manufacture some reusable dens along the shore that won't collapse on those poor cubs.

Call on your government, scientists, and science fiction writers to work on that idea, I say, and we might have a chance of saving the polar bears sometime in this century.

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