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AnimalsClimate ChangeEndangered Species

Save Polar Bears By Reducing Driving Speeds

Sea ice has been in a decline recently, and that is very bad news for polar bears. They conduct much of their lives on sea ice, including locating mates and reproducing.

Image Credit: Alan Wilson, Wiki Commons
Image Credit: Alan Wilson, Wiki Commons

‘Sea ice extent averaged for the month of April 2013 was 14.37 million square kilometers (5.54 million square miles). This is 630,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month, and is the seventh-lowest April extent in the satellite record.’ (Source: NSDIC)

Of course, climate change is becoming a greater issue because it is damaging many natural habitats, like sea ice for polar bears and we can reduce our carbon footprints by making small adjustments in our driving habits. According to the Carbon Fund, doing things like driving the speed limit, accelerating slowly and smoothly and keeping tires inflated properly can reduce our carbon output by one ton per year.

In Ohio, a recently passed bill made it legal to drive 70 mph on rural highways. Increasing speed limits will be bad for polar bears because driving faster produces more air pollution, including carbon. (Ohio seems to be a rather poor state for animals given the recent history involving the mass shooting of large predators that should never have been legal to be kept.)

As drivers, we don’t have to travel at the full speed limits though. We save money when we drive slower, and are probably much safer. At lower speeds we have more reaction time and considering how many distracted drivers there are on many roads because of texting while driving (not to mention drinking) is is probably better to not being driving swiftly. Curiously, raising speed limits in rural areas seems backwards because of the greater number of wild animals crossing roads in these areas, such as deer.

One of the main reasons we drive is for work commutes, which tend to be fairly short, so even if we do drive faster on short trips, the amount of time saved isn’t that great, and probably doesn’t offset the extra carbon, air pollution, stress and increased risk of accidents.

 




One comment
  1. Jim Corcoran

    The fastest mitigation to climate change is to severely reduce consumption of animal foods. About 1/2 of human induced warming is attributable to animal agriculture. Methane is 24 times more potent than CO2 and takes only 7 years to cycle out of the atmosphere. CO2 takes around 100 years to come out. Human pursuit of animal protein is the leading cause of methane release and a primary cause of CO2 concentrating in the atmosphere. Check the facts and act!

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency.” UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    Why would someone choose to be vegan? To slow global warming for one! Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein

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