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Do You Want to See Polar Bears in 2050?

By       Message Hailey Park     Permalink
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From flickr.com/photos/37539977@N00/7235225126/: napping polar bears
napping polar bears
(Image by Greencolander)
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It is pretty absurd to see people waving at polar bears, taking pictures of them, and giving them food at zoos. You've probably heard of dying polar bears due to global warming but didn't really care about it because you can't really relate to it in daily life. Who meets polar bears around neighborhood? (Maybe the Arctic people..) Regardless of all the theories about global warming, unfortunately, global warming is real and yes, we are the main cause.

Climate scientists and researchers concluded that the average temperature of the earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 degrees over the past 100 years. Moreover, the major cause of global warming is the "greenhouse effect", which is highly contributed by humans. The greenhouse effect refers to the process of absorbing heat from the sun by greenhouse gas molecules and re-emitting in all directions, ultimately warming the surface of the Earth. Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane, and Nitrous Oxide, which are mainly produced by fossil fuel combustion and soil cultivation.

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The problem is that as the temperature of the Earth increases, the iceberg of Arctic, where polar bears inhabit, melts. What's even more serious is that the polar bears not only lose their place to live, but also don't have enough food. Polar bears' most common food is seals, and there is almost no chance for them to get seals without being on the ice. Furthermore, POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) suggested that as the ice melts, the amount of phytoplankton rapidly increases. The increased phytoplankton absorbs the sunlight, ultimately amplifying 20% of the warming of the Arctic.

Recently, researchers observed a longer term of the ice-free summer season and the polar bears starving. Moreover, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) biologists announced that polar bears will encounter a population crash by 2025.

In order to take actions on this tremendous issue, President Obama announced America's Clean Power Plan, the CPP, on August 3, 2015 and demonstrated the progressive attitude of the United States as one of the few nations working on climate change. This plan provides carbon pollution standards for power plants, which have been the biggest source of CO2. The CPP targets carbon pollution to be reduced and sets the carbon pollution cut as 870 million metric tons. Also, by seeking for renewable energy, the CPP offers new job opportunities to many Americans who belong to the science field.

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If government is working on this problem, then we, all citizens, have to take actions and put efforts as well. That's why I am going to suggest the ways we can fight against global warming. Obviously, each individual cannot reduce the amount of fossil fuel combustion or coal mining. But certainly, there are things we can all practice in daily life.

1. Maintain the proper range of room temperature.

Overuse of air conditioner and heating system is one of the biggest factors of global warming. Try to keep temperature below 20 degreesC in winter, 26~28 degreesC in summer.

2. Use mugs or cups instead of paper cups.

In order to reduce the amount of CO2, we must have as many trees as possible. Avoid using paper cups to protect the trees.

3. Save water.

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If we close the drain hole to save water for brushing teeth and washing face, we can reduce 17kg of CO2 annually. Also, finishing shower five minutes earlier can save 9500L of water annually.

4. Recycle.

Recycling is a significant action to lessen trash. If we reduce 10% of the trash, 18kg of CO2 decreases annually.

5. Plug out electric cords.

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Do You Want to See Polar Bears in 2050?