Tuesday, March 6, 2007

SPEAKING OF INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

From: Ursine numbers up, but rescue continues (Don Martin, National Post, March 6th, 2007)

Their status ranges from a "vulnerable" to "endangered" and could be declared "threatened" if the U.S. decides the polar bear is collateral damage of climate change.

Nobody talks about "overpopulated" when discussing the bears' outlook.

Yet despite the Canadian government 's $150-million commitment last week to fund 44 International Polar Year research projects, a key question is not up for detailed scientific assessment: If the polar bear is the 650-kilogram canary in the climate change coal mine, why are its numbers INCREASING?

The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s.

As recently as three years ago, a less official count placed the number at 1,400.

The Inuit have always insisted the bears' demise was greatly exaggerated by scientists doing projections based on fly-over counts, but their input was usually dismissed as the ramblings of self-interested hunters.

As Nunavut government biologist Mitch Taylor observed in a front-page story in the Nunatsiaq News last month, "the Inuit were right. There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears."


The only thing that enrages an environmental activist more than denying global warming is suggesting to him that it might be good news. Although, to be fair, some of we social conservatives are starting to fret about the moral implications.

9 comments:

erp said...

Peter, thanks so much for posting this story. I can now thankfully cross off polar bears from my list of things to worry about.

Duck said...

The Inuit have always insisted the bears' demise was greatly exaggerated by scientists doing projections based on fly-over counts, but their input was usually dismissed as the ramblings of self-interested hunters.

This is the truly shocking part: that a native, indigenous people has fallen so low in the eyes of naturalists. These are the Inuit, they're indigenous!! They have 10,000 words for snow, for cripes sake! Now they've fallen into the worst of all possible categories, self interested. Egad, that's almost as bad as being capitalist!

My entire moral workdview is in shambles. I don't know what to think anymore!

Duck said...

erp
What will you do with all the time that frees up?

erp said...

Duck, Now I have to worry about how to answer your question? Should I be flippant, should I list all the other worries on my list, should I say I'll do more good works, should I say I'll work out more . . . oy oy oy.

Peter Burnet said...

No rest for the weary, erp. If the polar bears tugged at your heartstrings, what wouldn't you do for these fellows? You'd better get to bed early tonight because we march at dawn.

Hey Skipper said...

The Anchorage Daily News last week carried an item that polar bears had been cited along the Bering Sea coast south of Anchorage's latitude.

Why?

Population pressure.

Lord Grattan said...

Erp...
Do you still have the harp seals on your list?

Lord Grattan said...

How is Quebec's embattled dairy cowibou fairing?

erp said...

How can I know if I want to adopt one when there are no pictures of the allegedly cute little guys?

Lord G, are those the adorable pups that evil people, I think they're Canadian, hit over the head with cricket bats just so filthy rich women can wear their fur?

If so, then the answer is no.