Our polar seas in the Antarctic and Arctic are full of life, but climate change is taking a toll on these polar regions. Much of this warming can be attributed to our use of fossil fuels. Fisheries are crashing, animals are drowning, and the livelihoods of those that live in these regions are disappearing with the ice. Arctic sea ice helps moderate our climate, and without it, the oceans warm up considerably faster. This initiative focuses on regulating fishing, carbon emissions, and the energy we produce and consume, so that our poles can continue to teem with life.
While the frigid temperatures and desolation of the Arctic and Antarctic may seem inhospitable to humans, these cold waters are abundant with life. Seasonal plankton blooms attract huge schools of fish, pods of migrating whales, flocks of seabirds, seal and sea lion colonies, and many other key species.
However, climate change is having disastrous consequences for the Arctic. Much of this warming can be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels. In the 21st century, the average annual temperature is predicted to rise somewhere between 5-13°F. Beloved marine mammals such as polar bears and walruses are drowning as their glacial habitat melts away and prized food fisheries like Alaskan King Crab, halibut and pollack are experiencing catastrophic declines as sea temperatures rise. There are also the native Alaskan Inuit tribes, and the four million other people who live in the Arctic, who are watching their culture and way of life disappear as glaciers recede and sea ice melts.
Arctic sea ice is what helps moderate our global climate, and without it the ocean is absorbing more of the sunlight, which means that the oceans are heating up. Since the Arctic and Antarctic regions are particularly sensitive to temperature changes, a loss of sea ice in these areas means accelerated global warming trends.
The creatures of Antarctica face many of the same challenges as those in the Arctic. Ice sheets are melting as a result of climate change; Antarctic krill are disappearing, leaving whales, penguins, seals and sea birds at a loss for food; and unregulated illegal fishing is threatening key species, such as the Patagonia toothfish (Chilean Sea Bass).
Our Polar Seas Initiative provides grants to projects that focus on actively addressing our carbon emissions, better regulating our fishing and shipping industries, and making wise decisions about how we produce and consume the energy on which our civilization depends. Please consider donating to this initiative to ensure that our polar seas continue to teem with life.