Reflections (Monday, October 17, 2011)
I’ve barely been back in Buffalo, NY for 24 hours. Already, I miss the sounds of the waves rolling along the rocky shores of the Hudson Bay, the Arctic winds blowing across my face and the delight of catching glimpses of some of the most uniquely beautiful wildlife species I have ever seen.
I have been asked about my experiences, and for the most part, I’ve received positive reactions. I have also already heard someone say he doesn’t know what good it will be to reduce his carbon footprint when it will result in forcing a bear to be held in captivity when it should be in the wild.
I realize that the length of my postings may have possibly overwhelmed people, especially since all of us have busy lives and can’t always dedicate as much time as we would like to reading about this issue. For what it’s worth, this was just a chance to share what I experienced and what I learned. It gave me the opportunity to further delve into detail about the issues facing the Arctic.
To make it simple, these are the points that stuck out most to me throughout this experience:
- It is incorrect to discredit climate change on the basis that there is a random cold snap in a normally warm area. Climate change isn’t measured in rare occurrences. The definition of climate change is that it is an AVERAGE of climate fluctuations that occur over LONG PERIODS OF TIME. (The term “weather” refers to conditions in short periods of time.)
- The controversy over climate change isn’t really a scientific debate—it has become more of a political issue in recent years in terms of how to address it.
- The Canadian government is turning to accredited U.S. zoos that meet the required Manitoba Standards for help in saving their polar bears.
- The natural habitat for polar bears (sea ice) is disappearing or forming late. It is becoming harder for polar bears to have enough time to hunt seals. If they are unable to bulk up enough, the polar bears are not surviving throughout the months during which they’re forced to fast.
- There are ways that we, as individuals, can help make a difference. Also, by working TOGETHER (instead of against each other), we’ll have a bigger impact.
Here are some simple things that I have either already done or am planning to do to help reduce my carbon footprint:
- Recycle in any way I can (plastics, glass, reuse items when possible, etc.)
- Purchase recycled products (to complete the circle and help increase the demand for these products)
- Purchase local products (food, etc.)
- Shop with recyclable/reusable totes (instead of acquiring more plastic bags)
- Purchase Energy Star appliances
- Install eco-friendly showerheads
- Use energy efficient lightbulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
- No idling in cars, trucks, etc.
- Wash laundry in cold water
- Adjust my thermostat accordingly to the season—when possible, I won’t blast the air conditioner in the summer or the heat in the winter
- Unplug electronics not in use—this includes unplugging my cell phone cord from the wall when my phone isn’t charging
I will do my best to help share these ideas with others, and I will be sure to continue to add more actions to my list. This is just a start! Please be sure to continue to visit the Buffalo Zoo to see what we’re doing to be more eco-friendly. We’re continuing to build on our efforts as we move forward, too!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you for reading my postings. While I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I stated, I hope this at least serves as a new beginning for ALL of us. I learned so much from this experience, and you know what? I still have a long way to go. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution. I view our earth as a precious gift, and I’m only trying my best as an individual to do what I can to help make a difference.
I hope you will join me in some of these actions, and I certainly encourage you to come up with your own ideas that may better suit you and your family.
On behalf of my fellow Arctic Ambassadors, we thank you for your support!