No Polar Bears for You

The United States government has issued what amounts to a gag order to several scientists scheduled to speak at international conferences about global warming. The scientists have studied the global warming situation, particularly as it pertains to polar bears, a pretty major issue right now considering that they are being considered for endangered species status. The public comment period is open…but apparently any knowledge that American scientists accrue about polar bears cannot be shared with the world at large, unless they are previously cleared to speak about the topic which strikes me as a bit ludicrous.

My question is why the scientists wouldn’t go ahead and talk anyway. I thought science was supposed to be borderless, with scientists freely exchanging information about important topics with each other to learn more about the world and the natural environment. Aren’t we supposed to be supportive of science, because it is…well…pretty excellent? Science has led to a great deal of life changing discoveries, has changed the way we live, and has answered numerous important questions.

I think it is apparent to all of us that something is going on with the climate, potentially something very serious. I think that this should be an issue of global concern, because it impacts the whole planet, and I am glad to see scientists from all over the world thinking about it, studying it, and conferencing about it. By pooling information, brain power, and thoughts, scientists may be able to figure out what is actually going on, what is causing it, and how/if it can/should be stopped.

I also understand that the government wants to be cautious about making official policy declarations, but I fail to see how statements of fact amount to policy declarations. Sea ice is shrinking. Polar bears are dying. They are having an increasing number of negative interactions with humans because they have been pushed out of their native habitat. That is really sad, and it may also lead to their extinction unless something is done.

So…do we care enough about polar bears to do anything to stop it?

Scientists need to talk about science. That’s what I think. I cannot believe that this is even an issue…but apparently the administration cares more about advancing its own opinion than it does about the longevity of one of the most amazing creatures on Earth.

Bummer.

[polar bears]