Promotes the global importance of “achieving the dream” of saving cold polar regions and preserving the climate that has allowed life as we know it to flourish. Includes special guests, Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, Chief Scientist for Polar Bears International, and his wife, Virginia.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA and BOZEMAN, MONTANA — December 17, 2021 — Polar Bears International (PBI), the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to polar bears and Arctic sea ice, will be represented at this year’s Rose Bowl Parade aboard the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float.
In line with the theme of the 2022 Rose Parade, DREAM, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE, the float, titled Arctic Dream, calls attention to the impacts of climate warming on both poles. Polar bears, the float’s centerpiece, have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to live on the Arctic’s drifting sea ice—a habitat that looks like the moon.
“With white fur and paws the size of dinner plates, they are among the world’s coolest creatures, and literally need the world to stay cool if they are to survive,” says Dr. Amstrup, Chief Scientist for Polar Bears International. “Polar bears can reliably catch their seal prey only from the surface of the sea ice— the ice is their dinner plate. But with the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, that dinner plate is melting away, providing a warning to us all.”
Dr. Mel Astrahan of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs says that while polar bears and penguins live at opposite poles, making them “odd fellows,” they are both threatened by climate warming, as are people.
“We hope to inspire a BELIEF among viewers of the Rose Bowl Parade that we can ACHIEVE a better tomorrow by protecting our planet from the current runaway warming,” says Dr. Astrahan. “The polar bear is an icon of climate change, and we want to highlight this species by inviting Polar Bears International onboard our Arctic Dream float—emphasizing we can still save polar bears and other polar creatures we love.”Members of Odd Fellows & Rebekahs riding on the float will commemorate past members involved in explorations in both northern and southern polar regions. A simultaneous encounter with both polar bears which live only in the northern hemisphere, and penguins which live only in the southern hemisphere, is possible only in a DREAM. But Dr. Amstrup says that by working together we can realize healthy and stable environments for both ends of the globe.
“Polar bears, penguins, and other species need sea ice to survive,” Amstrup says, “but it’s also important to recognize that cold polar regions help prevent the rest of the world from overheating. Virginia and I hope our help in delivering this important message will inspire efforts necessary to achieve the Arctic Dream of preserving a global climate in which polar bears, penguins, and our children and grandchildren can flourish.”
Despite the fact that polar bears and penguins live on opposite ends of the globe, Dr. Amstrup does carry the rare honor of having been bitten by both. On their wedding night, he and Virginia, who has visited the Antarctic as well as the Arctic, helped a New Zealand researcher attach ID tags to little blue penguins, and Dr. Amstrup received a couple bites in the process.
Although Dr. Amstrup and his colleagues have predicted that most polar bears could disappear by 2100, we still have time to save them by dramatically reducing our CO2 emissions.. If we all—policy and business leaders, communities, and private citizens—work together to get us on the right path, we can save polar bears.
About Polar Bears International
For more information, visit www.polarbearsinternational.org.
About Oddfellows and Rebekahs
For more information, visit https://odd-fellows.org/about/rebekahs/