By Ray Dunaway

Polar bears are dying!!

Perhaps the most prominent and effective ploy used by members of the First Church of Climate Change is a photograph showing a forlorn polar bear seemingly trapped on a small ice flow, and therefore, doomed to a watery demise. As the arctic ice cap melts away, these cuddly loveable denizens of the north will be no longer with us.

By the way, the Polar Bear’s scientific name is “Ursus Maritimus”, which translates to “bear of the sea”. That poor creature in the iconic photo can swim- for miles. So it’s not as if Fuzzy took a nap only to wake up surrounded by water and facing its imminent demise.

But the larger narrative goes like this: the arctic ice is melting, and therefore, all the silky white ursus maritimus will soon vanish.

But is the population dying out?

Nobody knows. Certainly not your child’s 6th grade teacher. Or Al “The Oracle” Gore.

Several weeks ago, a Doctor Susan Crockford received an email from the head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG).

Is there room for all that on a business card?

In the near future, the group will release its Circumpolar Polar Bear Action Plan (I’ll wait for the movie) And here’s a bit of what was in the email regarding that report.

“As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.” [my bold]

In other words, we have no idea how many bears there are, or if the population is rising, declining or stable, but we need to throw some numbers out there since inquiring minds want to know. So you know that whatever the report states, it will be made up.

But how did Ursus Martitimus become the symbol of the dangers of climate change-or global warming- or climate disruption?

You can thank Coca-Cola. Several years ago I was visiting a friend in Atlanta, and to kill time while he was working, I visited the World Of Coca-Cola. The museum features floors of Coke lore, including the history, actual vending machines, merchandise for sale (of course) and a theatre showing commercials from the past. The soft drink brand has used polar bears in advertising since 1922. A perfect image! On a sweltering summer day, what could be more refreshing than watching a “family” of polar bears frolicking in the snow and ice; sledding or enjoying a fireworks display. And how much better would it be if you had a frosty bottle of Coke in your hand?

I can almost see my breath!

The bears were cute, and oh so friendly, and if they were to disappear, well- that would be tragic. We must save them! How many can we save by junking our cars, stop heating our homes, and stop breathing? We don’t know. Nobody does, including the PBSG.

The fact is, thanks to the commercial, we’d all love to cuddle up with one. And probably die. Ursus Maritimus is acknowledged to be the bear posing the most serious threat to humans. With a weight of 1600 pounds and a height when erect of 8 feet (Don‘t know its BMI) the polar bear can wipe you out with a swipe of a paw. The good news is they rarely encounter humans, but when and if they do, and if they’re hungry or tending to their cubs, bad things can happen.

So when your kid comes home from school and asks you to turn the thermostat down because teacher showed a picture of a polar bear stranded on an ice flow and said we could save the bear by cutting our carbon footprint, you can send this post back to the teacher the next school day. Maybe he or she will change the lesson plan.

Or not. Al Gore is aware of this information as well, but as far as I know, he’s still shilling.

And making big bucks.


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