Oh, people, look around you.
The signs are everywhere.
It was called the Ayles Ice Shelf until it became an island, breaking off from Canada last summer unobserved. It has been attached to Ellesmere Island for the last 3,000 to 4,500 years, and now is breaking up as it heads into the west, like a ship laden with elves and ringbearers, to mark the end of an era.
According to Canada.com, the ice shelves at the North Pole are 90 per cent smaller than they were when Robert Peary explored the Arctic in 1906. Five other major shelves remain.
All of this is very bad news for the Polar Bear, which relies on sea ice to hunt. The Bush Administration, in what had to be an embarrassment in timing, proposed the polar bear to be listed as a "Threatened" species as the term is describe in the US Endangered Species Act. That means the US will study the problem for another year before deciding whether to list the bear or not. And while the proposal notes that "The administration treats climate change very seriously and recognizes the role of greenhouse gases in climate change," "the proposal to list the species as threatened cites the threat of receding sea ice, it does not include a scientific analysis of the causes of climate change."
This could simply amount to the same old dodge that Bush retreated to when the reality of Climate Change could no longer be denied: OK, Climate Change is real, it's happening, but you can't pin it on humans. The next level of denial is OK, Climate change is real, it's happening, and humans are responsible, but it'll cost more money and disruption to stop it than it will to just deal with the impacts and clean up the mess.
Not good enough.
If we want to save the Polar Bears, it's going to take action at the Global, National, Local, and Personal levels. While the US government slogs along with a hem and a haw, it's up to all of us to do what we can.
Think about dying polar bears when you leave a light burning unnecessarily.
Think about dying polar bears when you leave your stereo on standby.
Think about dying polar bears when you choose your energy supplier.
Think about dying polar bears when you buy your light bulbs.