© Melynda Harrison/Polar Bears International

10/13/2017 3:46:18 PM

Meet Flat Nanuk

My family and I just returned from a year abroad in Europe. Our last stop was Ireland, home of the polar bear. Ireland and polar bears? Sounds weird, right? Like a lot of us, polar bears have an Irish ancestor.

As we walked along the Cliffs of Moher my husband, two boys and I, stared across the Atlantic Ocean toward North America where we’ve seen polar bears on the shores of the Hudson Bay. We pulled out our Flat Nanuk and imagined relatives of those polar bears on the Emerald Isle. 

Flat Nanuk is a polar bear that likes to travel and meet kids, just like we do. We’ve been to 12 countries in the last year and none of them are currently home to polar bears. That doesn’t mean they aren’t connected to polar bears, though. In each of those countries we’ve talked to people about how climate change is affecting the polar bears’ home. Nanuk and his living relatives are great “spokesbears” for what is happening in the Arctic and around the planet.

You can print out your own Flat Nanuk spokesbear and write a message on his sign. Our says, “Save Our Sea Ice” and you can write whatever you want on yours. Take your Flat Nanuk into your backyard, schoolyard, or wherever you go and snap a photo with it. Then post your photo on the Polar Bears International Facebook wall or email it to info@polarbearsinternational.org. We will share the photos on International Polar Bear Day, February 27th, and throughout the year.

Even if polar bears weren’t the descendants of Irish grizzlies, the Irish and the rest of the world have something in common with polar bears—we are feeling the effects of human-caused climate change. For polar bears that means the loss of their sea ice habitat. For the rest of us it means more intense and more frequent hurricanes, tornados, and wildfires. It means rising sea levels and scorching summers.

My family is back in Montana now, where our friends spent a summer breathing wildfire smoke and doing rain dances. Scientists tells us that climate change means more frequent and more intense fires for those of us in the Western U.S. It means unhealthy air quality and loss of human and animal life, as well as property loss.

We hope that by sharing Nanuk’s message, we can remind the world that climate change affects us all. When you share your message through Nanuk, you can also tell the world that you care about how climate change affects polar bears and people.

This Flat Nanuk by Carol McCallum made an appearance in a garden in Washington, D.C.!

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