International Polar Bear Day is an annual event aimed to raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations. Organized by Polar Bear International (PBI), the event encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint through making small changes in their daily lives such as driving less or lowering their thermostat. The mission of the organization is to inspire people to care for the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate.
The Polar Bear Connection
Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt seals, which is their primary sources of food that sustain them throughout the year. However, the sea-ice in the Arctic has been melting earlier each year on average, limiting the time polar bears can effectively hunt and build up critical fat reserves. The snowball effect over several years reduces the polar bear population and range, making them vulnerable to extinction in the future.
Changes in the Arctic are a litmus test of the effects of climate change, as the impacts are felt greater at higher latitudes. Scientists predict that as the Arctic continues to warm, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within this century. The latest IUCN report estimates there are approximately 26,000 remaining in the wild. Reducing our carbon emissions goes a long way towards limiting the negative impacts to polar bears and other Arctic species.
Islamic Perspective on Extinction
“And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures” – Quran 55:10
There are numerous references in Quran and Prophetic Tradition (Hadith) that speak to our role as stewards over the environment and the animals that inhabit it. We are obligated to take care and protect all animals as a sign our gratitude and for the blessings provided to us by Allah.
“The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you.” (At-Tirmidhi, 1924)
When it comes to polar bears, we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that we prevent not only their habitat degradation but their extinction as well. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by lowering our thermostat or not idling our cars are simple steps we can take on an individual level. Educating others and engaging your community are other great ways to raise the awareness about polar bears and harmful impacts climate change to animals.
For more information on International Polar Bear Day, please visit: https://polarbearsinternational.org/