Skip to comments.NPR finally gets it – does this signal an end to the polar bear as poster bear for global warming?
Posted on 02/04/2013 10:46:37 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
From NPR: The Inconvenient Truth About Polar Bears
In 2008, reports of polar bears inevitable march toward extinction gripped headlines. Stories of thinning Arctic ice and even polar bear cannibalism combined to make these predators into a powerful symbol in the debate about climate change.
The headlines caught Zac Ungers attention, and he decided to write a book about the bears.
Unger made a plan to move to Churchill, Manitoba, a flat, gray place on the Hudson Bay in northern Canada accessible only by train or plane. For a few months out of the year, as the bay starts to freeze, tiny Churchill boasts as many polar bears as it does people.
Unger packed up his wife and three small kids, and set out with a big bold idea. He wanted to write the quintessential requiem of how human-caused climate change was killing off these magnificent beasts.
In the end, he came away with something totally different, Unger tells NPRs Laura Sullivan.
On wanting to write the next great environmental tract
My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement. I was going to go up to the Canadian Arctic, I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point Id be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots
So when I got up there, I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe, which was actually very heartening, but didnt fit well with the book Id been planning to write.
There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago. In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded. This is not to say that global warming is not real or is not a problem for the polar bears. But polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we cant look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.
On moving his family to Polar Bear Capital of the World
We were in this town in northern Manitoba where polar bears literally will walk down Main Street. There are polar bears in this town. People will leave their cars and houses unlocked, and its perfectly good form just to duck into any open door you can find when theres a polar bear chasing you.
People use what they call Churchill welcome mats, which is a piece of plywood laid down in front of the door or leaned up against the door with hundreds of nails sticking out so that when the polar bear comes up to pad across your porch, hes going to get a paw full of sharp nails.
Zac Unger has worked as a firefighter and paramedic for the Oakland Fire Department. He is also the author of Working Fire: The Making of a Fireman.
Courtesy De Capo Press
On Churchills strategies for living among bears
There are definitely polar bears that come into town; there are definitely polar bears that will eat peoples dogs. But Churchill has developed an innovative polar bear alert program. The way it works is you dial a phone number 675-BEAR if you see a bear, and a bunch of wildlife conservation officers will come by in a truck with a bunch of guns. And they try really hard not to harm the bears, and they kind of scare the bears out of town. They have a progression that they use: First, they will fire firecracker shells; then they move up to rubber bullets; and as a last resort, theyll move up to real bullets.
They dont want to do that. These are conservation officers so their job is to keep bears safe. Churchill also has a polar bear jail. These are for bears who keep coming into town and cant be hazed out of town. And what theyll do is they will trap these bears and put them in the polar bear jail, which is just a great big decommissioned military building. And they will give them no food, and theyre given only snow to drink and then they wait until the bay freezes up. And when the bay freezes up, these bears can be released to go back out on the ice.
[The bears] dont want to be in town, theyre just waiting for the ice to freeze. But if theyre a hassle in town, put them in jail, give them a short sentence, and the problem is solved.
On trick-or-treating when polar bears might be lurking around the corner
Halloween is when youre supposed to go up with lots of food and run around with your kids. So we were up there for Halloween and so what they do is when you go out trick-or-treating you go out with somebody who has a gun whether its a police officer, or a volunteer or someone from the military. They all come out and they help you go trick-or-treating. Now, they have one rule, which is that kids cant dress in anything white no princesses, no ghosts because you dont want to be dressed as something white in the darkness when theres a bunch of guys with guns looking for polar bears.
Maybe now well see far less use of this photoshopped image, dubbed Ursus Bogus:
In related news: Is polar bear scientist Monnett still under investigation?
Polar bear scientist Charles Monnetts long-running entanglement with bureaucratic investigations into the quality and ethics of his work may not be over, despite a finding by his government employer in September that he could return to work. At the time, Monnett was delivered the equivalent of a slap on the hand a written reprimand for sharing work emails with environmentalists.
He was cleared of more damning allegations that his science was bad, his motives questionable. Yet according to attorney Jeff Ruch, who has represented Monnett throughout the investigation, the Office of the Inspector General has confirmed the case remains open. Agents with the Inspector Generals office conducted the inquiry into Monnetts work and last fall returned their analysis to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), Monnetts employer. The bureau determined there could be evidence of criminal wrongdoing and scientific misconduct, but left it to BOEM to decide how to interpret the Inspector Generals findings and what, if anything, to do about it.
Intense scrutiny of Monnett at the hands of government investigators quickly became an ongoing saga with political implications. When the investigation began, Monnett worked for the Minerals Management Service, an agency that not only conducted research into marine mammals, but which also permitted oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters. Tensions were growing among scientists who felt their observations were being swept under the rug to ease the permitting process.
Meanwhile, the prospect of drowning polar bears became a powerful symbol. Monnett and a co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Gleason, made brief reference to drowned bears in a 2006 journal article. During a 2004 overflight to survey bowhead whales in Alaskas arctic. Monnett and his colleagues witnessed what they believed were four dead bears floating in the Arctic Ocean. It was the first published documentation of dead bears at sea, and Monnett and Dr. Jeffrey Gleason surmised that the number of dead bears would increase as sea ice melted. At some point during the investigation, Monnetts methods for documenting the deaths and putting them into context became a target of the inquiry. Investigators, who were vague during much of the process, would only say scientific misconduct, and perhaps miscalculations, were one aspect of concern regarding the scientists work.
And that is all it took for Al
Jazeera Gore to run with it in An Inconvenient Truth:
I’ve been a long time advocate of Man Made Global Warming Activists moving to the north pole and keeping polar bears as pets. This way, they could take care of the bears and save their existence, while at the same time, giving their home nations a similar chance of survival by becoming extinct themselves.
A polar bear can swim up to 100 miles.
I like the plan.
Not on a full belly. They get cramps and drown. (liberal logic response)
Polar bears are a living inconvenient truth to the envirowackos. But then, reality is that way for them often.
“People will leave their cars and houses unlocked, and its perfectly good form just to duck into any open door you can find when theres a polar bear chasing you.”
...and if the bear gets there first?
I listen to NPR often on my commute. They are like high school seniors trying to sound all adult and stuff. I often find myself laghing out loud at their stories and the way they report them. Occasionally there is something worthwile on as well, just not very often.
I keep thinking about what the environmental wackos would do if the sabre-tooth tiger were still around today and their numbers were dwindling.
Would they tell us that the balance of life on earth would never be the same again if the sabre-tooth disappeared?
Yet, here we are, many thousands of years later, after the sabre-tooth became extinct, and, life has gone on, and nobody can outline what damage, if any, was caused by the extintion.
Being a global alarmist is a good racket. For eleven months out of the year, you go to cocktail parties and show PowerPoint presentations about animals and exotic locations. Then, for one month, you go to some exotic location and take photos. Take your girlfriend, or boyfriend, along and write your vacation off as a business expense. It’s a great racket.
All this talk about the right to bear arms has got them nervous......
Well, at least on the polar bear question, the reporter was an honest liberal. He changed his thesis to match the facts. That should be acknowledged.
Polar bears are brown bears who roamed north thousands of years ago looking for food and adapted to the colder weather. Despite that fact, the warmists believe polar bears would be unable to adapt to warmer weather.
Issue that Bear an NRA membership......LOL!
For a bunch of socialist egalitarians, they are insufferably snooty.
It's the opposite of "evil rich" conservative talk radio.
>> “and if the bear gets there first” <<
If the bear gets there first, then he isn’t chasing you, you are chasing him.