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Latest insights into our latest mission to the Arctic.
BBC’s Frozen Planet
November 8, 2011
The launch of the BBC’s Frozen Planet series may prove to be the tipping point that we will one day look back on as the time when the global community began to accept the sensitivity and scale of the natural world’s response to escalating human activity.
Pen Hadow, director of the Catlin Arctic Survey, believes Frozen Planet’s audience will be of a planetary scale over time, and its messages, conveyed through the charismatic mega-fauna adapted to the extreme polar environments, will have a cumulative impact which environmental NGO’s, governments and international policy-makers can only welcome.
World opinion to date has been activated, but increasingly confused by the noise of a myriad voices striving to make their un-scientific views known about the changing state of the global environment. Policy-makers, briefed by leading scientists with a consistent, ever more convincing message, have known the speed and scale of behavioural change that needs to be brought about by the people they represent. But a chasm has opened up between them and their voters who no longer know what to think. But Frozen Planet towers above this and transmits, lighthouse-like, the unfolding situation with an authority, clarity and simplicity none other can achieve.
Few people are aware that the greatest threat to polar bears is their increasingly challenged ability to balance their calorific consumption and outputs as the Arctic’s sea ice diminishes. Their feeding season when body fat can be accumulated is shortening, their fasting season on land in the summer is lengthening, and their need to travel further and faster to mate and hunt is having to increase to make up the difference. The calorific maths is likely soon to lead to lower reproduction rates, higher mortality rates, and the relatively rapid population collapse of this icon of the natural world.
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