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.
‘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.