I think the cover image for our October Environment issue says it all. The imperiled polar bear is down to a last chunk of ice and the look on its face is one of desperation. Even if this image was created through the wonders of Photoshop, the impact feels real. Viewing sequential satellite images of polar ice formations through the past 100 years vividly confirms the chilling shrinkage. Even when surface ice occasionally expands, the critical underlying volume remains diminished; it declined 75 percent between 1979 and 2011, according to Polar Science Center researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle.
This magnificent Arctic creature’s habitat is in dramatic decline along with every other natural ecosystem on Earth. Debate all day about the cause of global warming and humans’ contribution to greenhouse gases, but increasing manmade carbon dioxide pollution isn’t a good thing in anyone’s books. We trust that there is still a bit of time for conscious people everywhere to rally to “Ease Earth’s Rising Fever,” as environmental writer Christine MacDonald’s expert sources point out on page 32.
I am inspired by the wise words of Julia Butterfly (page 30) and the stand that she took by camping in a tree for more than two years to save a 1,000 year old redwood tree and the surrounding forest. Being called a tree hugger or Chicken Little waiting for the sky to fall used to bother me, but it pales compared with the commitment required by leaders of the environmental movement to protect us all. Every day these brave souls are proven correct and I’m honored to stand in support.
There is no place like home. Earth is still the only place we know of that offers the potential for us to survive as a species. Our intimate interconnectedness means that whatever we do to our environment, we do to ourselves.
We must all be the change we want to see if we are to succeed: Consume less, use completely, repurpose, recycle, compost, avoid chemicals, combine trips, carpool, ride a bike, walk, buy local, turn off the TV, advocate environmental causes and spend time in nature. All of our little conservation actions will add up to a huge difference for the polar bear and countless other species that are running out of options. Never let critics with hidden agendas dissuade you from cherishing, caring for and defending our home planet.
Green living is healthy living for all, Reid Boyer, Publisher