The Tragedy of the Polar Bear
In my Diversity, Peace, and Justice religion class we are presenting projects on a social issue. My issue is endangered species, which although doesn't seem as pressing of a problem in comparison to our failing economy or world peace, it can't be ignored. A visual aid is required for the project along with just about every form of Catholic teaching one could possibly find on the matter. I chose a scene from the Planet Earth series that depicts a lone polar bear trying to attack a herd of walruses. To you and me this may seem like nothing out of the ordinary, but the producers and filmmakers of Planet Earth knew they were witnessing something no human being had ever seen before. It then showed the same setting of the where the polar bear had attacked the walrus herd, but ten years earlier. What was now a body of water, or in other words part of the Arctic Ocean, used to be completely frozen over with ice. This allowed the polar bear to hunt a much less intimidating sort of prey, a small seal. The segment was eye opening, because they interviewed everyone from a wildlife biologist to the head of WWF, the World-Wide Wildlife Fund for Nature, and they all agreed that we had done irreversible damage to the polar bears' natural habitat. One scientist predicted that either the polar bears will move farther north and learn to adapt to this new climate or die out. He also said that in fifty years 35% of the polar bears will most likely cease to exist. Humans cannot continue to live as we do and watch as the creatures we are supposed to coexist with die out as a result of our consumption of natural resources, pollution, and hunting habits. Animals aren't the only valuable part of nature facing the affects of human destruction. Only 2 % of all plant species have been investigated for medicinal use. This may be of some concern to humans considering that as of right now 40% of medicine involves a plant as an ingredient. Unfortunately we have cut down a significant portion of the rain forest, which happens to be where over 50% of our plant species thrives. The question is how do we balance a consumer society and people's materialistic wants with a desire to preserve our natural resources and species? It is a matter of everyone doing his or her part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. It could be as simple as recycling all cardboard, paper, plastic, and glass or riding a scooter or bike to your destination instead of driving. Even though it seems like one person won't make a difference, if all six billion people, at least the capable ones, did something little it would add up to monumental change.