The thin ice shimmered underneath his feet. He cautiously walked toward the open water, one step at a time. The ice felt more unsteady with each step. Suddenly, a small noise came from beneath his paws and a large crack was heard all around. As if in slow motion, the ice cracked beneath him and his large polar bear body fell in with a splash. Surprised and scared, he started swimming towards the nearest ice. He struggled to get on it only to fall back in moments later. After a long struggle, he finally made his way into the open water and began swimming farther and farther until he was no longer visible.
His polar bear mate watched all of this helplessly from a relatively safe spot on the main ice. When he was completely out of sight, she sat staring into the still water, waiting.She reflected…
Not too many years ago, this never would have happened. She had never seen this much open water in their arctic home until just the last few seasons. She and her mate used to roam for miles without a break in the ice. They would find or make a small hole in the ice and wait for seals to appear. Seals, for some reason, would be attracted to the open hole. Those days are over. With all of the open water now, she sees the seals coming up where she can’t reach them. The seals don’t seem to be interested in the holes. They don’t come anymore. The world has moved on since then…
A few days after her mate left, he still hadn’treturned. She became increasingly worried. When a few days became a few weeks, she knew he wouldn’t be returning. She had lost him. She was now left to care and feed their single unborn cub alone.
In the past, polar bear families used to be much larger. She herself had 2 other siblings. For some reason, her and all of her friends had trouble even having one new cub. Things have changed. The world has moved on..
It had been weeks since her mates disappearance, although it was still fresh in her mind. Since that time, her cub was born. She struggled to feed it and keep it living. It was painfully thin and nearing death, unless she saved it. She finally decided that she only had one more option if she would like to keep her baby living, she needed to go out into the open water and get a seal, they clearly weren’t coming to her.
Holding her frail cub in her mouth, she began walking toward the open water. She was less than 3 meters from the water when the ice beneath her heavy feet cracked. Shocked, she tried walking back to the ice she was on before. However, the ice breaks and she falls in, still hanging onto her baby. She continues to attempt to get onto the ice behind her, but soon finds it impossible, it kept breaking. Suddenly, she notices a seal across the way. She quickly swims toward it in hopes that it may save her and her cub’s life. Much to her sadness, the seal quickly swims away causing her to go tearing after it. Before long it disappears. Sad and upset she begins swimming back. She doesn’t get too far before she finds her body becoming more tired and slowing down. She swims a meter more before starting to sink into the dark blue water, still hanging onto her small cub. Her world goes black.
She knows it’s the end and has her last few thoughts:
Soon she and her baby will be in a better place with her mate.
And slowly they drift into the light…
The world has moved on.
* * *
“Would you do anything if you knew the polar bears and the arctic are in danger?” Environmentalist Johnny Smith asked a class of Grade 8’s.
He picked on the one hand that was raised and wasn’t the least bit surprised by the answer,
“No… I wouldn’t care” She said, “It’s not going to affect me at all, after all they’re just polar bears… It can’t be that bad for them!”
It saddened him each time he did a presentation and found that many people didn’t realize how bad global warming was. And what’s worse- some people didn’t even believe it was real!
“Actually… It will affect all of us” He started, “And… As polar bears, they are going through a lot”
He looked at a crowd of careless faces.
“Coming out here today, I realize that there’s many people who don’t understand to the right extent how bad global warming is. Today, I’m going to focus on the polar bears and what’s happening to them, but I want you to know, it’s not just the polar bears that are having trouble because of it”
Some faces turned toward him, anticipating what he was going to say next.
Sighing, he said, “First of all, because of global warming the arctic ice is melting, as many of you are probably aware of. This is causing many problems. First of all… When it melts many places will be flooded and we won’t be able to live in them”
A few more faces turned up to look at him,
“Although, like I said that’s not what I’m really here to talk to you about. Because of the ice melting, there is more open water. This is causing a few things. The polar bears and walking along like usual and the ice is breaking and they can’t get back up. The other thing is polar bears instinctively dig holes in the ice and wait for their favourite meal, the seal to come up them looking for oxygen”
“You’re probably wondering why they did this, correct? Well… Seals are mammals and live off oxygen. Because the artic was covered in ice, they used the small holes to get their much needed air. Although now that global warming has occurred, the artic isn’t as much ice and has more open water, therefore they don’t need to come up the holes. This is causing polar bears to become slimmer. Which then causes them to have less babies. Do you guys understand?”
Everyone in the crowd nodded yes. Johnny smiled.
“The lack of food doesn’t just cause less babies, it also makes them have less energy. So for example, if they’ve gone out into the open water they may not have enough energy to swim back and sadly drown”
Sad faces nodded around the room and a hand shot up.
“Do you have a question?” Johnny asked the student.
“Yes” She said, it was the same one who answered the last question, “What can we do?!”
“Lots of things,” Johnny said happily, “Can you think of any?”
Hands shot up from around the room and he picked many of them,
“Turn the lights off”
“Carpool and use energy efficient cars”
“Lower your thermostat in the winter and higher it in the summer”
“Energy efficient products”
“You’re all correct” Johnny smiled, “But there’s one more, can anyone think of it?”
“Do what I’m doing!” He exclaimed, “Spread the word!”
Smiles from around the room.
“You know, many people think there’s nothing we can do and it’s too late to save our planet. but there’s lots that we can do and we need to start it now!
…because the world has not yet moved on.”
The bell rang and the kids were getting restless but he had just one more question.
“Now… Would you do anything if you knew the polar bears and the arctic are in danger?”
The same hand was raised, he pointed at her and was proud of her answer,
By Bailey Thompson
If you would like more information, you can visit my website www.BaileyThompson.ca, I have a "Global warming subsite" with information I researched, also some links to some other informative sites.