This week I finished the book On Thin Ice, which is subtitled “The Changing World of the Polar Bear”. Which should have been subtitled “The Disappearing World of the Polar Bear”.
In the book, the author quotes biologist David Ehrenfeld, who came up with a composite definition of all the characteristics you would have to have as an animal to be prime for extinction. Here is his definition:
“It turns out to be a large predator with a narrow habitat tolerance, long gestation period, and few young per litter. It is hunted for a natural product and/or for sport but is not subject to efficient game management. It has a restricted distribution, but travels across international boundaries. It is intolerant of man, reproduces in aggregates, and has nonadaptive behavioral idosyncrasies. Although there is probably no such animal, this model, with one or two exceptions, comes very close to being a description of the polar bear.” Or tigers.
Polar bears can only live on Arctic ice. Which may all be melted by 2050.
This brings me to the topic of global warming “deniers”. They hate that term, so I tried to come up with a friendlier term but failed.
Global warming denial intially took the following form: it isn’t happening, Next: Okay, it is happening, but it isn’t caused by man. It’s a natural cycle. (We’ll call this the Sarah Palin attitude.)
In the natural cycle camp, I came across this quote on another blog:
“You don’t have to be a scientist or a math wiz to see the fallacy of man made global warming. Go to Google and look up: last ice age. You will note that the extent of the ice dropped into the upper mid west. That was 14 000 years ago. The ice began receeding some 10 000 years ago. I am unaware of a single F250 or coal fired plant at the time. It’s nice to get excited about melting glaciers, after 10 000 years. Nice timing.”
So that’s your argument? I think it makes my argument. If you, scientifically speaking, believe that CO2 and methane and nitrous oxide do not have heat-retaining capabilities, then please retire to your cabin in Idaho. And if you do not believe that there is more CO2 and methane and nitrous oxide because there are more humans on the planet….then kindly take your textbooks debunking evolution with you to Idaho.
Even better is this comment:
“Upon further review, it’s not amazing at all, as the global warming movement consists largely of three groups of people: Communists who were disenfranchised when the Soviet block fell, but still hope to destroy capitalism with burdensome taxes and regulation, ostensibly aimed at “solving” a problem that doesn’t exist; Democrat politicians who see global warming as an opportunity establish complete government control over commerce; and the “useful idiots” who live a life of fear and are always ready to buy into the hype of the next big, bad thing that supposedly threatens us.”
Communists? ( Are there any left?) Useful idiots? Tools of the Communist Threat? Oh. My. How did we get here? I thought Joe McCarthy was dead.
Nobody with any sense denies global warming. And nobody with any sense denies that humans are contributing to it. The only real question is, how much…and can we do anything about it. Maybe, maybe not. But we should try.
It amazes me that the same people who get up in arms about the debt we will supposedly be leaving to their children and grandchildren don’t care about whether or not their children and grandchildren will ever see a polar bear. And why should I care? I don’t know. I won’t be there when the polar bear becomes extinct.
I leave you with a quote from the book which somehow expresses it.
“We need another and wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge, and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein, we err, we greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of senses we have lost or never attained, living by forces we shall never hear. They are not brethren, not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”