I have some really uplifting news to share with you from the Arctic! The Obama administration has decided to remove Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea leases from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This means that companies will not be able to obtain the right to drill in pristine and vulnerable Arctic waters.
Polar bears are the best. And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a fan. Regardless of your affinity for these incredible animals, there’s always more to learn.
Today marks the beginning of Polar Bear Week, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve tracked down five new facts about Ursus maritimus. Ready to brush up on some trivia?
1. Polar bears wag their heads when it’s time to play
Polar bears communicate through body language, and will often wag their heads from side to side to signal that it’s time to play. Playtime is ritualistic of mock fighting, and the perfect opportunity for polar bears to brush up on their best moves. To initiate play, polar bears will stand up on their hind legs with their front paws at their sides and chins lowered to their chest.
This was originally posted as part of the Vital Arctic Ocean Areas blog series. See all posts here.
This summer we were fortunate to share a blog series brought to us by Arctic scientists — experts working to study and understand the habitat, species and ecological changes happening at the top of the world. It’s rare for those of us who live a ways away to see a glimpse of this vibrant, and beautiful place, but our blog series aimed to bring YOU into the Arctic Ocean. We shared scientist stories about how truly special this place is. And how important the Arctic is, not only to the animals and people that thrive there, but to the overall health of our ocean. If you missed reading the blogs, we encourage you to check them out now. Here are just a few of the reasons we think you’ll enjoy reading the series.
Greetings from London! Just hours ago, I was lucky enough to witness the International Maritime Organization (IMO) make a pivotal decision that will drastically decrease harmful sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from global shipping.
We will now turn our attention to ensuring implementation and enforcement of these regulations. Tonight, however, we will celebrate this pivotal decision and toast the hundreds of thousands of lives saved by this measure.
Last monththe Crystal Serenity set sail from the Alaskan port of Seward on a voyage through the Northwest Passage to New York City, making it the first cruise ship of its size to attempt this journey. The luxury liner stopped at ports of call along the Alaskan coast, including the town of Nome (population 3,850). Thanks to Nome resident Austin Ahmasuk for sharing his perspective with us.
Peering seaward south of River Street at 7:57 am, I saw the ship climb over the horizon as it materialized out of the fog. The P/V Crystal Serenity, with 1,700 passengers and crew aboard, arrived on time as predicted and slowly made its way shoreward. My eyes were glued to its deliberate movements. I knew it was big and, as the largest cruise ship to visit Nome got closer, its size towered in contrast to Nome’s normally modest waterfront.
I scanned for signs of its escort vessel, the RRSErnest Shackleton. It surely must be near to provide assistance in case something went wrong. But the Ernest Shackleton was nowhere to be seen. The website showed that it was in Baffin Bay, Canada several thousand miles distant!
If something were to go wrong—an oil spill or shipwreck—our small town’s local volunteers and handful of response vessels would be the ones expected to answer the call.
SEWARD, ALASKA – Small only in comparison to the rocky peaks surrounding the city, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity easily dwarfed every other structure in Seward, Alaska. On August 16, she slipped her moorings and started a month-long voyage through the Northwest Passage with over 1,700 passengers and crew onboard.
This is an important milestone to us. The impact of climate change has now ushered in an era where a luxury cruise ship is able to sail from the North Pacific to the Atlantic via the fabled Northwest Passage—a route that once defeated even the most intrepid explorers. While other vessels have made the transit, this is the first time a tour ship of this size—almost the length of three football fields—has attempted the passage. Crystal Serenity’sjourney is yet another symbol of a rapidly changing Arctic.