Warm Winters in Our Future

Warm+Winters+in+Our+Future

Leon Cobb, Copy Editor

Winter wonderlands, white Christmas, windy weather, it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. Or at least it was back in 1996- in the past 25 years, Michigan has been getting warmer and warmer, with less and less snow. We started out in 1996 with over 300 inches of snow! Last winter there was only 124 inches of snow- in the next 25 years, the snow rate might just be a light dusting. With warmer weather, we have to deal with the consequences of endangered polar animals. Colder ecosystems are so reliant on the ice caps but we are coming to an age where these animals are losing their homes.

In May of 2008, the United States government declared that the polar bear population is on a rapid decline and listed them as a threatened species. In 2019 another assessment was conducted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature- with an even lower population estimate. Polar bears have adapted to become wonderful swimmers, however, they rely on the frozen arctic ocean and its coast to rest, hunt, mate, and raise their young. With the declining snow rate and with the warmer temperatures, they need to find new homes- and way too often that is under the ice. They are beginning to travel south to join the humans, being pushed out of their homeland only to find themselves trapped in cages on display at our local zoos. In the next 30 years, we are looking at losing 30% of the population.

Every winter we see little penguins wandering around on the icebergs, getting lost and waddling around. However, these little guys are waddling away from a stable population. They’re gravely threatened, the loss of sea ice is pushing them into the water, and though they can swim- that isn’t their home habitat. They have too many predators to worry about like seals and orcas. In 2020 there was an estimated 280,000 breeding pairs worldwide. In 2021 there are an estimated 200,000. That means in the past year they’ve dropped 28%.

Wood Bison once called Alaska their home, they were very common but as a result of overhunting, they became extinct as of 2016 in the united states. Canada had a couple here and there but overall they were all killed off or they had to migrate up north to escape their deaths- but how much land do they really have to retreat to. In the past few years, Alaska has tried to reintroduce them back to their homeland but as of June 2021, there are only 103- still a whole 10% increase since last year.

Animals are losing their homes and we are losing our snow, but how can we help? Well by using less coal, gas, and oil and using more eco-friendly and energy-saving technology such as LED lighting, riding bikes, or walking when available- and by eating more natural and unprocessed foods we save energy and the planet.