SAVE THE ARCTIC - A PRIORITY REGION OF THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

Vistas like this can only be seen if we save the Arctic

Largely unspoiled, with spectacular peaks, glaciers and sea ice, the Arctic is in danger because of climate change

It may sound dramatic but the race  is on to save the Arctic; and it’s a race against time. The arctic ice is thinning. The polar bear habitat is shrinking. Drilling from offshore oil rigs is hazardous. All these factors have put this unique ecosystem in grave danger.

When the lack of nature conservation affects one specific region, there are repercussions elsewhere. That’s why we support the actions of the Nature Conservancy, a charity dedicated to protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends.

If we are going to save the planet, we need to save the Arctic.

Crowning the top of the world, the frozen Arctic Ocean provides an unlikely home for a spectrum of enchanting creatures. Above the ice and below, beluga whales, narwhals, bowhead whales, walruses, and murres prosper. Narrated by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle.

THE ARCTIC OCEAN

  • The Arctic Ocean is the smallest of the five oceans but they are not separate. In fact, they are a continuous body of water that encircles the Earth to form one immense World Ocean.
  • Approximately 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans which is why our planet is sometimes called the “Blue Planet.”
  • The Arctic Ocean joins the Atlantic near Greenland and Iceland, and the Pacific at the Bering Strait.
  • Unlike the South Pole which is on land, the North Pole is located in the middle of the ocean, in waters almost permanently covered with sea ice that shifts constantly.
It is our obligation to protect all wildlife in the Arctic

The walrus is one more native Arctic species that must be protected

THE ARCTIC REGION

  • It comprises fjords, jagged peaks, frozen seas, icebergs, glaciers, ice, snow and tundra and is one of the planet’s last largely unspoiled regions.
  • In winter, the temperature can dip to  -40°F and in summer hover around freezing.
  • The Arctic spans eight countries and is home to several million people, most of whom are Inuit. For these communities to subsist, they depend on a healthy, functioning ecosystem.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ARCTIC

  • Although there is a lack of basic scientific information about the Arctic Ocean, studies have shown that the average ice thickness (formerly between 7 and 10 feet) is decreasing (to as low as 3 or 4 feet in certain areas) and that within a few decades, it could disappear altogether in the summer months.
  • Because sea ice reflects most of the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere, it helps keep our planet cool.
  • As Arctic temperatures rise, the global warming phenomenon across the planet accelerates.
  • Arctic landmass is also affected. When the soil known as permafrost, that is more or less permanently frozen, starts to thaw, it releases large amounts of carbon monoxide and methane and becomes a part of the global warming cycle.

To save the Arctic is to save dwindling polar bear populations
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Large areas of ice have disappeared, putting polar bear populations at risk

ARCTIC WILDLIFE

  • The tundra and frozen Arctic Ocean provide a rich habitat to a wide variety of animals, including migratory species that seek food during the brief, less harsh Arctic summer.
  • It is home to the polar bear, walrus, ice seal, bowhead whale and beluga whale, as well as land animals, such as hare, ermine, fox, wolf, muskox  and more.

POLAR BEAR HABITAT AT RISK

  • The Arctic sea ice is the polar bear habitat, where it hunts, breeds and lives.
  • It is an entire ecosystem, inhabited by plankton and microorganisms that nourish seals which in turn become prey for polar bears and food for indigenous people.
  • When sea ice retreats in the summer, polar bears can no longer hunt and are forced to live off stored body fat.
  • As larger and larger areas of ice disappear, the polar bear population has been dwindling and its survival is at risk.
  • This giant mammal is listed by the United States as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

DRILLING FOR ARCTIC OIL

We cannot drill for oil and save the Arctic

The severe Arctic climate makes drilling from offshore oil rigs very precarious


  • At the time of writing, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the Federal government will approve exploration drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean and jeopardize efforts to save the Arctic.
  • If oil is discovered, we wonder if building a pipeline is feasible and safe.
  • Would any multinational corporation out there know how to respond to a disaster and clean up an oil spill?
  • The severe and dangerous climatic conditions as well as the geographical remoteness of the region make drilling from offshore oil rigs extremely precarious.

SAVE OR DESTROY

Knowledge is a powerful tool. Responsible actions can bring about change. Doing and supporting and making things happen is exhilarating and rewarding. We sincerely hope it’s not too late to save the Arctic and our planet, so let's do whatever we can to make sure this doesn’t happen!

An oil spill will cause the Arctic irreparable damage

Communications tent set up during an exercise to test the Spilled Oil Response System

MORE TOPICS TO HELP SAVE THE ARCTIC

In the coming months we will be showcasing more environment-related topics. Currently we are preparing an article on environmental careers, which are in growing demand and so very rewarding.

OUR GIFT CATALOG

One way for us to join forces and help the Nature Conservancy carry on their work is to acquire a unique, handcrafted glass pendant from our collection of Gift Ideas For Her. Please click on the words Gift Catalog to view. We are proud to make them available to our visitors. Enjoy looking at them, giving them and wearing them!

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For those of you who are interested in the Canadian government’s future High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, please read on. The two Montreal-based architectural firms have incorporated Inuit knowledge and culture into the design and function of this project—scheduled for completion in 2017—so that it is “welcoming and open.” It will be environmentally friendly and feature solar panels and composting toilets.

The Station will strengthen Canada’s commitment to Arctic research, and attract international scientists to work in Canada for the good of the entire region and, consequently, all mankind. It aims to be a world leader in green technologies for the Arctic. Please visit http://www.science.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=74E65368-1 for more details.