International Polar Bear Day 2013

by Inga Yandell

©DanielJ.Cox:NaturalExposures

International Polar Bear Day is February 27th and Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation group, invites the public to join them in honoring polar bears on their designated day by taking part in the Thermostat Challenge—an effort to raise awareness of how our daily actions impact the polar bear’s sea ice habitat.

With the Thermostat Challenge, PBI encourages families, schools, and businesses to adjust their thermostats up or down a few degrees (depending on where in the world they live) on February 27th to lower carbon emissions and help save polar bears. They also encourage participants to purchase and install a programmable thermostat or to take additional steps like adding insulation to reduce their energy consumption throughout the year.

“Saving energy, which reduces our carbon footprint, can slow and even reverse global warming, which causes sea ice to melt,” says Kathryn Foat, PBI’s Vice President of Conservation Education and Stewardship Strategies. “Polar bears rely on the sea ice for reaching their prey. Without sea ice, there will be no polar bears. By taking part in this initiative, we can show our commitment to take action on climate change.”

PBI invites the public to share photos or videos of their participation in its online community gathering place, www.myplanetmypart.com. Those in cold climates, for example, might share photos of how they turned down the thermostat by three or four degrees and “bundled up” in their favorite warm clothing. Or they could show themselves buying or installing a programmable thermostat or taking other steps to save energy.

“These two initiatives are a great way to start making every day a polar bear day,” says Foat. “We all make countless decisions every day that have an impact.”

The Thermostat Challenge is the launch event for PBI’s larger Save Our Sea Ice (SOS!) campaign, a series of energy-saving efforts that will begin on international Polar Bear Day, February 27th, and continue through the summer melt period. Other components of SOS include a Power Down effort on Earth Hour, a No Idling challenge on Earth Day, and a summer Green House Energy Challenge.

The goal of the campaign is to focus attention on the challenges polar bears face in a changing Arctic and the part each of us can play in stopping global warming.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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