Protecting the Polar Bears

Feature story - December 15, 2005
In 1993, Coca-Cola brought polar bears into the homes of millions of people around the world through a creative, heartwarming advertising campaign. Since then, the Coca-Cola polar bears have become an icon of the holiday season and many television viewers look forward to seeing a new spin on the charming commercials every year. However, despite the care-free, party going atmosphere depicted in the popular advertisements, the situation in the Arctic is extremely grave. Global warming is threatening polar bears with extinction and we're taking action on their behalf.

Along with our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity and National Resources Defense Council, we filed a lawsuit today against the Department of Interior calling for protection of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.  The act would provide broad protection to polar bears, including a requirement that all federal agencies make sure that any action carried out, authorized, or funded by the government will not "jeopardize the continued existence" of polar bears, or adversely modify their critical habitat.

We also created a commercial in the spirit of the Coca-Cola ads to draw attention to the polar bear's plight.

Polar bears depend on sea ice to travel, rest, hunt and rear their young, and global warming is causing that ice to melt.  According to the international Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the ice  has been shrinking eight to 10 percent per decade.  A recent federal study shows that polar bears in the Alaskan Arctic are drowning due to the loss of sea ice.  If immediate action is not taken, polar bears could be extinct as early as 2050.  If our lawsuit is successful, the polar bear would be the first mammal to be officially declared at risk due to global warming.