A polar bear shows a bit too much interest in a plane.
[Photo credit: Craig Platt]
Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013
Oil company Shell said it will not drill for oil in the Arctic waters off Alaska this year. In a statement on Wednesday they said, the exploration is on ‘pause’ but they still remain committed to drilling at a later stage.
Shell had planned to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas but after a number of mishaps and failures (such as the conical drilling rig which ran aground after being separated from its tow vessels on New Year’s Eve) they made the decision to postpone the program until a later time.
The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are important habitats for polar bears and other wildlife life that visit the Arctic seas. Will Shell prepare to conduct safe and responsible operations in Arctic waters in the future or will they continue to demonstrate errors that may put wildlife at risk?
[Photo: U.S Coast Guard]
Global warming is currently the biggest threat to polar bears and they need our help to tackle it! Warming temperatures are caused by an increased build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In recent centuries, humans have increased the amount emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. The more greenhouse gases that are emitted the warmer the Earth becomes. This is not great for polar bears as the warmer the Earth becomes the quicker the sea ice melts, and it is the sea ice which is vital for the polar bears’ survival.
The extent and duration of the annual sea ice in the Arctic has significantly changed due to warming temperatures, with the ice-free periods lasting longer and the ice periods shortening. The sea ice now breaks up 3 weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago (Stirling and Parkinson 2006). The consequence of this early break up means that polar bears are restricted for longer from foraging their primary food source (seals), at a period when they are most abundant. With this polar bears have a reduced chance to accumulate enough fat reserves which are vital to survive the periods when confined on land (where food sources are inadequate). Whilst stranded on land polar bears will have to rely on their fat reserves for 4 months until the sea ice forms again. For a pregnant female the wait is longer, approximately 4 months longer. This is because she must remain on land to create a den, give birth and nurse her cub(s) until they are able to leave then den in early spring time. If fat reserves are not adequate for these months confined on land, polar bears will quickly exhaust their fat reserves and face higher risk of nutritional stress.
We can help tackle global warming by reducing our carbon footprint.You can find a few tips you may want to give a try on the take action page of the blog. Each and every action we do (whether big or small), added up, makes a huge difference!
If you would like to know more on the above please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’ll be more than happy to help : ). Also, if you have any ideas on reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to share, please send here and you could see them featured in the ‘take action’ section of the blog.
Big thanks to all who are taking action to help save polar bears! You’re BEARilliant! Happy International Polar Bear day!
[Photo by Anette Holmberg]
Morning Stretch / Photo by Dan Heap on Flickr