Can the Polar Bear Save the World from Global Warming?
Two-thirds of the world's polar bears could be gone by mid-century, according to new forecasts from scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey.
While shocking, this new report could help the polar bear gain Endangered Species Act protection when their case comes up for review in January.
But if the polar bear does get endangered-species status, it could, theoretically, do more than help the species. Being listed under the ESA requires the federal government to come up with a plan to preserve a species and its habitat. The polar bear is at risk because the ice floes it calls home are melting; would endangered status mean we'd have to find a way to keep that sea ice from melting?
Similarly, the recent decision to preserve ocean habitats for elkhorn and staghorn coral could mean the government needs to take steps to slow the warming and growing acidity of their native waters.
Is the Endangered Species Act the deus ex machina that will save the entire world? I find that doubtful. But it just may be one of the tools we need to create change in the world.
Give it some thought.
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