*I thought this Opinion piece I wrote was relevant to this blog so I will share it with you because this is what I truly think.
I find myself primarily agreeing with Vicki Meretsky about the polar bear and Global Warming in an opinion written in the Billings Gazette yesterday. Meretsky is an associate professor of Public and
Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.
I believe the polar bear should be listed as Endangered, not because it symbolizes anything, but I believe the polar bear is Endangered by Global Climate change, symbolic, or not.
In 20 years, we will have an ice free artic, no matter what the cause of Global Warming is. I do not care how good a polar bear can swim; nothing short of whale is going to swim the kind of distances a polar bear will have to swim in its search for Seals. Seals are not just polar bear food, They will also need the ice to thrive within but may have no ice to thrive within. I do not think polar bears, notoriously slow reproducers, are going to survive on shorebird eggs or kelp.
Brown and black bears will compete with natives and wolves for caribou. Every now and then a polar bear will luck into some caribou scavenge or a live caribou, not enough for survival, but enough for old bears to survive on.
If western Canada does not flood, polar bears will hang on there, if natives tolerate them. Some of the southern populations of polar bear, at Churchill and James Bay, may hang on this century but Alaskan polar bears will go extinct perhaps by as early as 2075 at current rates of melting ice and the use of fossil fuels (like oil) and wasteful energy practices.
Humans will be too busy trying to survive to worry much about polar bears and the Endangered Species Act. I am painfully pro polar bear and I want the native coastal culture to survive and not be wiped out. As we explore for more oil, rather than ween ourselves now of one of the sources of Global Climate Change, (our addiction to oil and gas), polar bears will, as a population, go over the ridge in the USA (die out).
I do not think oil derricks are going to drown polar bears, but I think we need to be looking for other other energy, rather than oil.
Matt has seen many grizzlies and black bears in Yellowstone and Glacier areas and has seen many polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba and Banks Island in the Northwest Territories. Matt is now disabled and in Rockville, MD. He has a son in Bozeman, Montana and 2 children in Maryland and one in Maryland who grew up in Montana. Matt worked on grizzly bears and bears of the world and bear conservation. Matt is a graduate of the wildlife program at Montana State University.