Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

July 22, 2020 by  
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In recent years, the rate of melting ice has been on the rise because of global warming . But the reduced amount of ice makes it difficult for polar bears to capture seals for food. A CNN report shows that polar bears are getting thinner and giving birth to fewer cubs as the sea ice dwindles. Now, a new study in the journal Nature has revealed that polar bears could be extinct by the year 2100 if humans do not put an end to global warming. According to the study, polar bears are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of current human practices. The study indicates that if humans continue emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the polar bears might not exist past the year 2100. Related: Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threats global supply of freshwater Polar bears have been ranked as the largest terrestrial carnivores. But the survival of this species depends on the Arctic’s sea ice. Polar bears only feed during the Arctic winter, when the waters are frozen. They use the ice to stand on while capturing seals, stocking up on this food in the form of body fat to prepare for the summer, when the ice has melted. If the warmer summer weather lasts longer than anticipated, the polar bears are likely to die due to a lack of food supply. Péter K. Molnár, one of the study’s authors and assistant professor at University of Toronto Scarborough, explained that the polar bears use the ice because they aren’t skilled enough to swim and catch the seals. The polar bears cannot feed if there is no ice in the Arctic . According to the study, polar bear cubs are the most vulnerable, followed by the adult mothers. If the mature males lack food, they are likely to feed on the cubs. Given that polar bears are already producing fewer cubs than before, it is important to protect the offspring by ensuring that there is ice for the older bears to fish. “Ultimately, the bears need food and in order to have food, they need ice,” Molnár explained. “But in order for them to have ice, we need to control climate change .” + Nature Via CNN Image via Margo Tanenbaum

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Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

July 22, 2020 by  
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London-based property developer gs8 has unveiled designs for Orford Mews, a pilot project for a sustainable residential development in the North East London district of Walthamstow, which is currently undergoing regeneration. Designed by architect Michael Lynas of Studio Anyo , the contemporary, nine-unit development will serve as a landmark project for energy-positive, zero-waste housing. Orford Mews is expected to achieve and exceed RIBA 2030 operational energy and embodied carbon targets. Orford Mews will consist of eight family houses and a single three-bedroom apartment on a long linear site. The project will rely on local materials and local labor wherever possible to reduce the project’s embodied carbon count and to support the community. All of the non-contaminated materials from the existing buildings in the finished development will be reused. The contemporary and minimalist design will be mainly built from timber and reclaimed brick, and it will feature sloped roofs topped with living moss. Climbing vines will also be encouraged to grow up walls to contribute to a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Related: Dark Chalet in Utah will generate over 350% more energy than it needs In addition to greenery around and on top of the houses, residents will have access to community garden spaces designed by landscape designers at London Glades. Residents will also enjoy little, if any, utility bills thanks to the energy-positive buildings integrated with renewable energy and designed to follow passive principles for reduced energy consumption. Passive design strategies include compact massing for minimized heat loss and strategic window placement for daylight capturing and heat retention. Orford Mews will also include a multifunctional well-being space for the community, a reuse center that encourages circular living choices and a Neighborhood App developed to provide real-time energy usage stats and suggestions to reduce energy consumption. “When we set out four years ago with a goal to develop a flexible framework to build one of the most sustainable projects in the world, we chose Orford Road as the pilot to prove that if we could achieve our carbon and energy-positive , zero-waste aspirations on a site this small and constrained, then it could be viably rolled out across any size development,” said Ben Spencer of gs8. “The next stage is implementing the innovative framework we’ve created and prove that developing truly sustainably doesn’t need to mean compromising on design quality or financial viability.” + gs8 Images via gs8

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Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

Pharrell Williams debuts The Pebble, a recyclable dining kit

July 22, 2020 by  
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Pentatonic, a circular economy company focused on removing single-use plastic products from the marketplace, partnered with acclaimed singer and outspoken opponent of single-use plastic Pharrell Williams to launch a portable dining kit made from  recycled materials.   Better known for his “Happy” music, Williams is equally passionate about finding alternatives to  single-use plastic , which is on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the estimated 20-35% increase in single-use waste, Williams has ignited the i am OTHER brand by joining forces with Pentatonic to bring The Pebble by OTHERWARE to the market.  Related: This sleek, reusable cutlery set can fit right inside your pocket The idea is simple and effective: a mobile dining kit that includes a fork, knife, spoon, straw and chopsticks. The entire set easily folds away into a compact egg or pebble that fits into a purse, backpack or briefcase for reuse,  eliminating waste . Utensils can be washed by hand while backpacking or added to the dishwasher at home. “Our team has been super concerned about the seemingly unstoppable flow of single-use plastics, especially around  food and drink . So we decided to get together with Pentatonic to do something about it, in a fresh, creative and relevant way. The goal is that the pebble makes it easy for people to take their first step towards eliminating single use plastics,” said Darla Vaughn from i am OTHER. The Pebble uses entirely recycled materials, including CDs, a nod to Williams’s other industry, and polypropylene from used food packaging. At the end of the kit’s life cycle, it can be recycled. Pentatonic will trade back the product and repurpose the materials into another product for a full zero-waste circle. While Williams brings a recognizable name to the collaboration, Pentatonic boasts noteworthy accomplishments too. The company reports that it “is the world’s leading circular economy company, which focuses upon removing the single use from consumption. It designs and manufactures high quality products as a standalone brand and in collaboration with a broad range of partners including Starbucks , Snarkitecture, Burger King, New Era, The Science Museum and Heron Preston.” And now, Pentatonic can add Williams to the list. The newly launched collection features a limited-edition yellow colorway to support YELLOW, INC., a non-profit foundation established by Williams. All i am OTHER proceeds from OTHERWARE sales will be donated to YELLOW, INC. + Pentatonic  Images via Pentatonic

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Pharrell Williams debuts The Pebble, a recyclable dining kit

Learn about polar bears during a free virtual field trip to the Arctic Tundra this November

October 31, 2019 by  
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Discovery Education and Polar Bears International have once again partnered to host an exciting, immersive and free virtual field trip to the Arctic tundra. Students from K-12 and teachers everywhere are welcome to virtually observe the polar bears of Canada’s Hudson Bay in their natural habitat. Registration is now open for this engaging, educational webcast, where audience members will be transported beyond classroom walls to the site of the annual Canadian polar bear migration. Students and educators worldwide can tune in to the Virtual Field Trip to the Arctic Tundra event that will take place on two dates: Wednesday, November 13 at 12 p.m. Central Time and Thursday, November 14 at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Both events, which will be live and span at least 30 minutes each, will treat attendees to visually engaging material about the polar habitat, sea ice, Arctic adaptations, climate change and especially the polar bears. Related: Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse To coincide with the webcast events, there will also be two live question-and-answer virtual sessions, where attendees can inquire more about the north polar region’s wildlife , environment and careers on the tundra. These virtual Q&A sessions will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at 1:30 p.m. Central Time and Thursday, November 14 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time. Following both dates, Discovery Education Experience will archive the events and their respective Q&A sessions in both the Polar Bears content channel as well as the Virtual Field Trip content channel. These will serve as digital curriculum and classroom instructional resources that both students and teachers can enjoy. Now in its sixth year, this virtual event has been a wonderful collaboration between Discovery Education and Polar Bears International. Their partnership in this Tundra Connections program brings important awareness to polar bears and their habits, ecology, threats and the need for conservation to secure the future of these majestic animals of the Arctic. “Discovery Education is excited to present the upcoming Tundra Connections Virtual Field Trip to teachers and students worldwide at no cost,” shared Discovery Education Director of Product Development Kyle Schutt. “Discovery Education understands that these types of events can spark in students a lifelong interest in a particular subject, and we encourage all educators to bring their students to the Arctic with us. Who knows, your class may contain the next great wildlife biologist!” + Discovery Education + Polar Bears International Image via Pixabay

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Learn about polar bears during a free virtual field trip to the Arctic Tundra this November

Polar bears invade small island in northern Russia, causing an emergency warning

February 12, 2019 by  
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Islands in northern Russia faced a crisis last weekend after a group of polar bears invaded the region. Officials in Novaya Zemlya issued an emergency warning for the small town of Belushya Guba, leaving residents scared to venture outside of their homes. Photos of polar bears invading garbage heaps surfaced over the weekend, while school officials say they have spotted the animals near buildings and homes in the area. Authorities claim they have seen polar bears enter the town in the past but have never experienced anything of this scale. Related: Polar bears could go extinct sooner than scientists previously thought “I have been in Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but there has never been so many polar bears in the vicinity,” Zhigansha Musin, an administrative leader in the town, explained. According to EcoWatch , Russia has placed polar bears on the endangered species list, which means killing them is not an option. Officials are currently using non-lethal methods to try to remove the bears, but if they are unsuccessful, then culling them will be explored. Unfortunately, the bears have not responded to any attempts to scare them off the island. The polar bear invasion started back in December. Since then, officials have counted more than 52 bears in the region. Local officials also say that the bears are becoming more aggressive toward residents, and a few have entered homes and businesses. Locals are scared to venture outside of their homes out of fear of an attack. It is sad to hear that residents are fearful of their own safety. It is also unfortunate that these polar bears could be killed if the situation continues to escalate. But the underlying issue at hand is the growing problem of climate change and the affects global warming is having on the polar ice cap. As temperatures continue to rise all around the globe, the Arctic is experiencing double the rate of melting than any other location on Earth. The melting of permafrost and the polar cap is driving polar bears out of the region, forcing them to invade human settlements out of a basic need for survival. Via EcoWatch Image via Unsplash

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Polar bears invade small island in northern Russia, causing an emergency warning

UK’s first polar bear cub in 25 years born in Scotland

January 3, 2018 by  
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25 years have passed since a polar bear was born in Britain – but the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) just announced some exciting news. The United Kingdom’s only female polar bear Victoria recently gave birth to a cub at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. And it’s possible there could be more than one – Head Keeper for carnivores Una Richardson said in a statement , “We first heard promising noises in the week before Christmas and these have now continued into the new year. Because we don’t have sight inside her cubbing box we can’t be sure if Victoria has had more than one cub but we can confirm the birth.” The UK has at least one new animal resident: a baby polar bear! Highland Wildlife Park staff started hearing what the society described as distinct high-pitched sounds from the maternity den, and have now confirmed at least one cub was indeed born. You can listen to the pretty adorable noises in the park’s video below: Related: Watch a little polar bear cub experience snow for the first time RZSS’s statement did caution the first three months are dangerous for the cubs, whether they’re born in captivity or in the wild . The babies are born blind and don’t weigh much more than a guinea pig, so they’re completely dependent on the mother polar bear. Richardson said, “While we are absolutely thrilled, we are not celebrating prematurely as polar bear cubs have a high mortality rate in the first weeks of life due to their undeveloped immune system and the mother’s exaggerated need for privacy, with any disturbance risking the cub being killed or abandoned.” Naturally the park is taking steps to give the baby or babies a chance. Richardson said they’re monitoring Victoria, and her enclosure is closed to the public. Keeper activity will be kept to a minimum too. If all goes well, visitors might be able to glimpse the cub (or cubs) around March. + Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Images via Highland Wildlife Park on Twitter and BIAZA on Twitter

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UK’s first polar bear cub in 25 years born in Scotland

Video of starving polar bear rips your heart out of your chest

December 12, 2017 by  
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Conservationist Paul Nicklen recorded this devastating video of a polar bear struggling to survive in a warming Arctic. With now-viral footage, which Nicklen describes as so wrenching that “it rips your heart out of your chest,” Nicklen hopes to motivate action to save the bears and their polar climate. If that fails, he hopes to at least document this tragic ecological period. “When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like,” said Nicklen in an interview with National Geographic . “This is what a starving bear looks like.” Polar bears require solid sea ice to hunt its most essential prey, seals . If there is no sea ice, the bears have nothing to stand upon as they hunt for the mostly aquatic mammals. Polar bears are adapted for a food-free season of 3 to 4 months, the period during which the sea ice has historically melted in the Arctic. However, as climate change has extended the ice-free period in the Arctic , polar bears have suffered. Although the bears are not currently considered an endangered species, they are threatened and may slip into endangered status if their population continues to decline. Related: “You had to live it to believe it” – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass Commentators on Nicklen’s video have questioned why he did not step in to help the starving bear, who spends much of the video desperately searching for something to eat. “Of course, that crossed my mind,” said Nicklen, according to the New York Times . “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.” Feeding wildlife is also illegal in Canada, where the footage was taken. To effectively save the polar bears, rapid action must be taken to address climate change by shifting to a clean energy economy. Still, even as polar bears suffer an existential threat from melting sea ice, life seems to be finding a way; there are reports of polar-grizzly bear hybrids that have emerged as the two species increasingly share territory. Via New York Times and National Geographic Images via SeaLegacy

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Video of starving polar bear rips your heart out of your chest

Hanoi’s koi cafe has a thriving ecosystem complete with an aquaponic garden

December 12, 2017 by  
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From the outside, this café in Hanoi, Vietnam looks fairly traditional with a tile façade that resembles fish scales and a heavy wood door. But inside hides a thriving garden centered around a koi pond. Farming Architects designed the space as a small, self-contained ecosystem with an indoor waterfall and an aquaponic vegetable garden. The café is nestled in an existing three-story building in Hanoi to which the architects added a steel frame. Its ground floor houses the fish pond filled with colorful koi carp, known as the Japanese national fish. The seating area next to it provides direct views of the water. Customers can also walk around the pond along a stepping stone walkway. Related: Bangkok Residents Turn Abandoned Mall into a Giant Fish Pond The architects included an indoor waterfall flowing down into the pond as a reference to an old Chinese legend according to which if a carp could leap over a waterfall on the Yellow River, called the Dragon Gate, it would be transformed into a dragon and fly away. It also helps oxygenate the water for the fish. The rooftop garden and the pond function as a single ecosystem. Excrements produced by the koi carp are used to create nutrients for the plants growing in the garden on the third floor. Produce grown here is used in preparing the dishes served in the café and helps purify the water that flows back into the aquarium. + Farming Architects Via Dezeen Photos by Nguyen Thai Thach

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Hanoi’s koi cafe has a thriving ecosystem complete with an aquaponic garden

"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

October 2, 2017 by  
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When a bowhead whale washed ashore at Wrangel Island in Russia , the polar bears were ready. Between 150 and 230 bears gathered to eat the carcass, and tourists captured the experience on camera. As there are around 26,000 of the animals on Earth, almost one percent of the world’s polar bears, according to Gizmodo, assembled for the feast. The polar bears dined on the whale carcass on Wrangel Island. While polar bears feeding on whales may not be that strange, Gizmodo points out what was unique was that so many people were present to witness the event. A tourist ship passed by as the bears were feasting. Related: Snow-free images of Arctic polar bears show the harsh reality of climate change Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ said his group counted more than 150 polar bears, while Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve said conservative estimates put the number of polar bears at more than 230. Bears of all ages and sexes were present. According to a Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve news release, scientists were aboard the tourist ship, and an international scientific group monitoring bear populations in Chukotka – where Wrangel Island is located – and Alaska were told of the event. Russ wrote in a blog post, “You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened…there are no words to describe it.” Polar bears aren’t endangered , but are listed as vulnerable , a step below endangered, on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species . The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said some populations are stable, some appear to be on the rise, and others are decreasing. The loss of sea ice could seriously impact the animals. WWF said global polar bear numbers could fall 30 percent by 2050. Via Gizmodo , Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve , and Heritage Expeditions Images via A. Gruzdev

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"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

Polar bears are getting dosed with Prozac to keep them calm in captivity

January 13, 2016 by  
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A visit to the zoo wouldn’t be complete without a stop by the polar bear enclosure. Seeing the majestic creatures padding about and docilely swimming up to kids as they peer through the glass may seem like a wonderful experience for a paying guest – yet these behaviors go against everything polar bears are programmed to do. Social isolation, boredom, and living in an enclosure that’s a fraction of what their normal habitat range would be in the Arctic causes bears and other captive animals to quite literally become mentally ill . So prescribing antidepressants and other medications to zoo animals has become a common practice. One that some zoos don’t want the public to know about. Read the rest of Polar bears are getting dosed with Prozac to keep them calm in captivity

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