Close-up of a polar bear's face

Photo: Emily Ringer

The Problem Has a Solution

By Emily Ringer, Senior Manager of Communications and Advocacy



12 Feb 2021

On International Polar Bear Day, February 27th, we draw attention to the challenges polar bears face in a warming Arctic and the urgent need to act on climate. In preparation for this day of awareness, we’re looking at the top ways that you can get involved and help polar bears.

The Problem

In a nutshell, global climate warming, caused by burning fossil fuels, is melting the sea ice polar bears depend on. Polar bears need sea ice to hunt, mate, roam, and sometimes den. If the Arctic continues to warm at the current rates, we will see fewer polar bears in fewer places across the Arctic, making them more vulnerable to extinction.

The Preparation

Climate warming calls for a new approach to conservation–we can’t build a fence around the polar bear’s melting habitat, and we can’t assign wildlife officers to guard the gate. Our impact on their sea ice home and their livelihood is broader and more complex.

And given that we too depend on a stable climate and a healthy planet, the polar bear’s future is not separate from our own. What affects them affects us all.

Yes, the problem may seem overwhelming, but time and time again, humans have accomplished things that once seemed impossible. We’ve solved great problems whose solutions once eluded us.

And fortunately, in this case, we already have the answers we need. 

The Solution

As scientist Katharine Hayhoe says, when it comes to global climate warming and a future for polar bears, “we need all options on the table and all hands on deck.” 

The key to saving sea ice for polar bears and getting the climate back to functioning the way it should is to get away from using fossil fuels for energy all together. Here are the top five ways to get involved:

  1. Vote and speak up. The most important action you can take is to vote with the climate in mind, in each and every election. Also let your representatives know you support bold climate action.

  2. Support an energy shift. Get involved in community projects that reduce or replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources like solar and wind. Also research renewable energy options available to you.

  3. Talk about it! Open up and talk about climate change (and climate solutions) with friends, family members, and colleagues.

  4. Promote clean transportation. Support community projects aimed at reducing the number of vehicles overall, such as car-sharing and mass transit programs. Also support the shift to electric and hybrid cars.

  5. Build a better future. Encourage energy-efficient construction standards, including better heating and cooling systems, insulation, and lighting methods.

Thank you for your bravery, innovation, and dedication to this cause. The polar bear’s fate, and the fate of the planet, is in our hands. Let's write a more hopeful future together. 

You can download a printable PDF with these recommendations here. For more information about how to help polar bears, visit the Act Now section of our website.