Science 3: Animals and Climate Change
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As Bob Dylan once famously said, "The climate it is a-changin'." We're paraphrasing.
|Elementary and Middle School||3rd Grade|
And the dangers of climate change aren't just a threat to people… [Woman lifting a water damaged chair out her apartment]
Nope, nasty ol' climate change also affects animals.
And sure, animals don't have to clean out flooded basements, but they still have it [Polar bear carrying out flood damaged stuff in a wheelbarrow]
pretty bad…if not worse.
One species that's having a super rough time dealing with climate change?
The polar bear.
Sea ice is extremely important to polar bears' lives. [Polar bear stood on ice]
After all, their main prey is seals, and polar bears hunt seals from…you guessed it…sea [Polar bear jumps into the sea chasing a seal]
Unlike orcas, polar bears aren't aquatic hunters, who can attack in the ocean… [Polar bears swimming away from an orca]
…and unlike humans, they don't have helicopters, or high-powered rifles, or even sandwiches, [Polar bears in a helicopter, one of them holding a rifle]
so yup…sea ice is kind of a huge deal.
However, due to the rapidly changing climate, sea ice is melting more and more quickly. [The sun comes up and the piece of ice the polar bear is standing on begins to shrink]
That means not only is there less and less sea ice from which the polar bears can hunt…
…but it also means they have to swim farther and farther to get to the next sheet of sea [Polar bear swimming to sea ice]
And even if you're a polar bear, swimming for a long time in Arctic water is no picnic. [Picnic table with food on it falls in to the sea]
If you don't believe us, give it a try. [Man in diving suit jumps into the sea from a patch of sea ice]
But only if you don't mind turning into a popsicle in about five seconds. [Diver floats back up in a block of ice]
With this reduced access to food and the increased difficulty of even finding places to hunt, [Polar bears chasing after a seal]
fewer polar bear cubs are surviving, and polar bears are getting thinner and thinner. [Small polar bear jumps into the ice and a gravestone appears]
And it's not just polar bears being affected…
Take snowshoe hares, for example.
They change their fur from brown to white as fall turns into winter…
…and then when spring hits, their fur changes back, from white to brown. [Hare changing the color of it's fur]
Great camouflage most of the time…
…but as climate change happens and winter get milder, some hares find themselves turning
white, even though there isn't any snow around. [White hare in the rain]
And that's not just unfashionable; it's deadly.
However, there is hope. [Wolf chasing after a hare]
Scientists believe that over time, snowshoe hares could evolve, and their fur changing
cycles could line up with the new reality of the seasons brought by climate change.
Maybe if they had better access to dye jobs at hair salons they'd be a lot safer right [Hare getting it's fur dyed]
And we're sure the polar bears would appreciate it if we would all do our part to reduce climate [Polar bears protesting outside the White House]
That means buying energy efficient products, conserving energy at home and at work, planting [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
trees, recycling, carpooling or taking public transportation instead of driving, et cetera
et cetera et cetera…
And sure, that might sound exhausting, but isn't it worth it to see the happy look on [Small polar bear resting on it's parent]
this lil' guy's face?