Polar Bears International

3/8/2013 2:24:38 PM

Good News Friday {Iceland's Green Energy, Bagless Austin, Kid Support, Maternal Den Camera}

It's Friday and we want to share some good news. There's a lot of doom and gloom out there regarding climate change--and there should be. It's a serious problem that we all need to be taking action on.

But on Fridays, we like to highlight some of the good news, and focus on what people and communities are doing right now to reduce their carbon footprint and help polar bears.

• When Iceland's economy collapsed in 2008, they decided to take a novel approach to getting their finances in order—green energy. "The development of a clean energy economy is a good insurance policy against long-term difficulties, which inevitably will continue to follow the financial crises of the future," Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said.

And it worked. "Coming from a country with the largest glaciers in Europe, close to the frozen Arctic, Icelanders do not need to attend international conferences to be convinced of the accelerating rate of climate change," he said. He added that, despite some major economies, Iceland let its private banks fail and rejected austerity measures.

• It seems that Iceland knows what it is talking about when it comes to green energy. An upcoming geothermal energy event, Iceland Geothermal Conference 2013, has generated excitement online after being featured on various news channels and industry websites. More proof that doing the right thing for the planet and its inhabitants can make financial sense.

• According to some estimates, Austinites use 263 million plastic bags a year. Now the Texas city will greatly reduce that number. This month, Austin's Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance goes into effect. The ordinance, unanimously passed by City Council on March 2, 2012, regulates the types of bags that can be distributed by business establishments in Austin and encourages a shift to reusable bags. Is your city or town next? It's up to you.

• We love the great response one of our young supporters got on our Facebook page, check out the comments. We wrote about Danielle's fundraising efforts here, and she is even further along now. While we greatly appreciate the donation (of course!) we are also really excited about how she has inspired other people.

• PBI Director of Field Operations BJ Kirschhoffer is in Alaska working with Dr. Tom Smith on maternal den studies. He writes a vivid account of getting the first camera of the season installed. Their research give us a broader picture of polar bear denning behavior—increasingly important information as oil activity spikes and the sea ice shrinks.

Have a great weekend!

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