The Future of the Arctic In Danger


"Polar Bears" by NPS Climate Change Response

Polar bears have been losing their homes due to the arctic ice caps melting. Climate change proved to be a threat to their arctic homes.

Valeria Garcia Alcala, Reporter

The Arctic is known for its unique wildlife and its big ice caps, but the wildlife and people are in danger because of climate change and oil drilling.

One of the major issues that will affect the arctic greatly, according to Greenpeace, will be if more oil drilling occurs. The major problem with oil drilling in the arctic is that the fragile Arctic ice and tricky weather conditions will make an oil spill more likely, which will then cause many animals to die. That will result in throwing off the arctic’s food web. Many scientists have also stated that by adding more drilling, more carbon fuel will be released, causing ice caps to melt making it harder for polar bears to find food Greenpeace published on their website.

“We might not see the effects right away if we aren’t living there, but the long term effect is polluted water due to oil spills,” chemistry teacher Alexis Haefer said. “The use of the oil can lead to more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which is one of the greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.”

The second major issue affecting the arctic is climate change. Many scientists and biologists have said, according to the World Wildlife Funds Arctic website, that because of climate change and global warming ice caps are melting at a much faster rate. This is causing many animals that use ice caps to find food to swim for longer periods of time, causing them to use more energy than they receive making these species weaker by the day until they die.

“Global warming, nowadays called climate change, causes the overall average temp to increase, which can drastically change the animal’s environment & the people’s way of life,” Haefer said.

The arctic is essential for many reasons, not just because of all the animals that live there but because of the four million people who are located there the World Wildlife Fund said. The arctic also helps keep the world’s climate in balance and helps circulate the world’s ocean currents, and that’s why the arctic is a topic that needs to be talked about.

“If we don’t speak out about what is happening, who will?,” AP Environmental Science teacher Trisa Swenson said. “As I said before, we need to reduce our need for fossil fuels. Research needs to accelerate to make renewable resources more cost effective. We will never run out of sun energy, geothermal power, hydropower, etc. The more demand for alternative energy sources, the more research will happen, which will decrease the costs of these sources.”

Even though ice will continue to melt, experts say there is still time to make a change and help the arctic stay healthy.

“People can reduce their ecological footprint. Reduce their use of fossil fuels,” Swenson said. “Reduce their consumption of meat by eating a more plant based diet. You don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but try eating meatless meals once or twice a week by eating grass fed beef, cage free poultry, etc. Be more aware of how far your food travels to get to the store.”