Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Polar Bears and Global Warming

Polar Bears and Global Warming
By Michael Russell

Every year around December, about 200 to 250 female polar bears give birth to twins or triplets in the park area.

They are part of a population of about 1,200 polar bears in and around the park, some 600 miles north of Winnipeg in northern Manitoba.

The females fast during the first months with their cubs, but as spring approaches, they grab their cubs and make a run out onto the ice.

The females desperately need food by this time and much reach the Hudson Bay before the ice breaks up and the ringed seals, the favorite food of the Wapusk National Park polar bears, disappear.

It will take a family of polar bears about two to three weeks to make it to the ice, during which time each female will probably lose one or more her cubs. It's a tough journey.

Once the family reaches the ice, they'll feast on seals.

The mother will teach whatever number of cubs survive how to hunt for themselves.

If the cubs get through their first months outdoors, they'll spend the next two years by their mother's side, migrating to and from the Arctic ice packs and learning to hunt the seals.

Polar bears gorge themselves during the seven to eight months of the year when the ringed seal is available.

During that time they can triple their body weight.

Males may grow to 1,000 pounds or more during their feeding period while females may reach 600 pounds.

They'll need the extra weight to get them through the summer when the ice breaks up a=on the Hudson Bay and the polar bears move inland onto the summer tundra.

Polar bears are the world's largest land-based predator.

They have only one enemy, traditional Inuit natives who hunt the bear for their meat and fur.

But now they have another enemy - human-caused global warming.

Today, ice melts in the Hudson three weeks earlier in the spring than it did just 25 years ago.

The increasing sun and early ice melt means there is less time for the polar bears to fatten up for the summer months when they won't have access to the seals.

Polar bears amass most of their body fat during their spring feast of ringed seals.

When the ice disappears earlier, they aren't able to put on as much fat.

That fat is critical for the males, but even more critical for the females who must fast an additional period while they nurse their cubs.

Females lose an enormous amount of weight giving birth and caring for their cubs, but gain it back if they have enough time on the ice.

One female weighed only 250 pounds after her pup's birth, but ballooned to 880 the next year.

But scientists have noted a 10 percent drop in the number of cubs born in the last 20 years.

Adult bears are also 10 percent thinner.

At a lower body weight, females have a tougher time nursing, which is part of the reason there are fewer cubs.

Female polar bears use snow dens to give birth to their cubs.

But rising temperatures can affect these dens themselves.

If the dens melt early, the cubs are exposed to the outside world too soon.

The same is also true for the ringed seals, which are the prey of the polar bears.

They use snow dens to shelter their young.

Without the snow dens the health of both predator and prey are affected.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Global Warming - 5 Simple Ways To Go Green And Save The Environment

Global Warming - 5 Simple Ways To Go Green And Save The Environment
by Donald Mckenzie Jr

1) Buy multivitamins.

Almost everyone today uses health supplements for good living. Often times they will go out and buy a large amount of bottles containing different vitamins.

One great way to save on having to deal with the many bottles is the purchase multivitamins. Not only are they great for your health, but they are like having a lot of vitamins combined into one.

This step will also help you to save a great deal of money.

2) Purchase aluminum free deodorants.

Many of the deodorants used today contain aluminum.

Many studies have shown that aluminum salts in deodorants can adversely affect your health. They have been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Another problem is that it requires a lot of energy to mine the aluminum salts.

If the energy output is cut, then it will strengthen out fight on global warming.

Aluminum free deodorants require less energy to produce and they do not put your health at risk.

3) Skip the gym and exercise outdoors.

Treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines are a great way to get healthy and stay fit.

However, hey do require a great amount of energy.

Each time you use one, it is running up your energy bill and wasting precious energy.

If you take that same amount of time and go or a walk or run outdoors, there would be a ton of energy saved. Just think about the amount of energy you are wasting each month by using indoor electronic exercise machines.

Another great benefit to exercising outdoors is that you will be breathing in fresh air and not reprocessed air conditioning.

4) Use bars of soap instead of body wash.

Many fragrance companies today create what is known as body washes for people who want to "smell excellent".

You can find them in almost every grocery store in the United States today.

However, most people do not realize that body wash is primarily made up of water and take a lot of energy to produce.

A simple bar of soap will give you that same fresh scent.

People forget that before body washes were created, soap bars were dominant.

A bar of soap only needs to be paced in a small box while a body wash need to be put into a medium sized plastic container.

Keep in mind that cardboard requires much less energy to produce than plastic.

You can help save the environment and the emissions of carbon dioxide just by sticking to regular bars of soap.

5) Use fresh foods instead of canned.

With the way things are going today, people have become dependent upon packaged items.

In grocery stores you see canned fruits, canned vegetables, and even canned tuna.

Many people seem to forget that cans take a great deal of energy to produce.

You can help the environment by simple getting the foods you want fresh.

Would you rather eat an apple that has been freshly plucked from a tree, or sapped in weird fluids out of a metal can?

There are many other things that you can do to help battle global warming.

Although humans are responsible for a small percentage of the total global warming issue, we can still do our part to help the planet