On February 10th, news started circulating about something pretty unheard of; some near 50 polar bears have made their way into the small Russian town of Novaya Zemlya. These bears have been reported roaming around the streets, and to people like us, this seems rather bizarre, and to some degrees fascinating. Florida is the polar opposite of the type of climate these animals live in, and so the majority of us have never seen a polar bear anywhere except maybe in a zoo. Taking this into consideration, it makes sense why we'd see the whole situation this way. After all, how cool would it be to be able to look out your window and see these guys walking around? How many people could say that they've experienced that? Probably not too many!
When you look into the details of this situation though, it becomes evident that this is actually a major nuisance and concern for the people affected. People have reported being scared to leave their homes, or send their kids to school because of the looming threats of these bears and their aggression, and there have been issues reported with the polar bears wandering into human residences. A state of emergency had to be called because of the safety hazard that they pose, and also because there is no known way to get rid of them. They've lost their fear of humans, and consequently, they no longer responded to things like guns being fired off, or alarms sounding.
This situation is a major issue, and as a conservation enthusiast, I believe it is one that everyone should be concerned with. Yes, even those of us who live over 6,000 miles away from Russia, and have no possible way of being impacted by the event itself.
When these polar bears wandered into this town, they began scavenging for food. If it were only one or two bears it could be said that maybe they just weren't fit enough to adequately hunt, but when these animals are arriving in the masses it's a major testament to the condition of the environment. The habitat that these bears live in is no longer able to sustain them, and considering the species is already endangered, that means that their habitat is in a terrible state. Some will argue that their habitat decline is due to climate change, and those who don't believe in climate change will protest against that.
I say forget whether or not you believe climate change is real or not; the fact that the environment can no longer sustain a shrinking population is problematic enough, without pointing fingers at a cause. The state of the world is changing, and it's not going to stop with impacting just the polar bears.
People tend to underestimate the importance of environmental issues. We don't really care about things until they're knocking at our front door and interfering with how we go about life. People ignored the fact that the ice stretches polar bears need to hunt have been shrinking, and now an entire town is having their livelihood completely disrupted because of it, for some continuous unknown amount of time. I say that people need to care about this because this could've been any community that is near a rural area. This could've happened much closer to home, with any species of animal that is facing environmental pressures. People need to take this event and learn from it. We need to stop turning cheek to environmental issues until they're hurting us. We need to start taking care of problems as they're presented and stop making taking care of the world we live on such a debate. It was polar bears this time, and unless we act it's only a matter of time before it's something else, and maybe it's us and our neighbors staying inside, too scared to go out.