Hunter or huntedHunter or hunted

Mission impossible?

The 'brief'

You are attending the Arctic Science Summit 2042.

The Arctic Ocean is almost ice free all summer. The fragile ecosystem of the Arctic has been severely affected by climate change. The polar bear is threatened with extinction. You have to make a case for conserving this species. Describe how the environment has changed, and the consequences of easier access to this remote region. Consider the indigenous people and their relationship with the species. Look at protected areas and how they might be managed. Then present your case for conservation to the delegates.

Some background information

Neil Hamilton from the World Wildlife Fund spoke at the 10th Arctic Science Summit Week in Bergen in March 2009 - his speech was entitled 'New approaches to Arctic conservation in times of accelerating climate change.'

The emphasis was on management of the process not the species. He spoke about protected areas and how they may evolve in light of climate change - with new concepts, moveable flexible boundaries, promoting new ecosystems in new or old areas. He also warned that it might not be possible to conserve some species in the same way. Where does that leave the polar bear?

In a generation the Arctic will not look the same as it does today. New ecosystems may evolve with species which are currently not found living in the Arctic. Indigenous people may have to change their way of living when the summer sea ice disappears - sea ice as transport and hunting grounds might be gone. Ice dependant seals and polar bears will lose their habitat and they will drastically decrease in numbers. Shipping and exploration of oil and gas have to be managed in such a way that it will not harm the new Arctic. But there is still hope to save the Arctic, but we have to act now to decrease the emissions of green house gases. We can not wait, we do not have enough time

Tom Arnbom, Arctic biologist, WWF

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