How Fast Will the Polar Bear Disappear?

Posted on 06 December 2009 by editor


Copenhagen ice bear. Credit: Servaas Van den Bosch/IPS.

Copenhagen ice bear. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

By Servaas van den Bosch

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) “Come touch a piece of the Arctic, disappearing before your eyes. What have you got to lose?” asks the WWF in downtown Copenhagen, where a gigantic polar bear sculpted out of ice is slowly melting.

“Just like the scientists at the climate meet, I have no idea how long it will take for the polar bear to completely disappear,” says sculptor Mark Coreth from the UK. In the case of this particular nine tonne specimen, it doesn’t look good. Ice water is steadily dripping down, forming a pool under its body, and the once fierce head has morphed into an unrecognisable mass.

“The beauty in the Arctic is extreme, but also the fragility,” explains Coreth, who says he was inspired by Inuit tales of how the conditions at the poles were rapidly changing.

A bit further, in front of Town Hall, the lights on the traditional Christmas tree spread warmth through the cold Danish night. But instead of dirty electricity from fossil fuels, they are powered by clean energy from bicycles.

Elsewhere on Town Square, John Evangalis, his wife and their four children gaze at an enormous globe that spreads a message of hope: the wish that Copenhagen will be the historic turning point.

“This is a good way to show people what is at stake, after all that green earth over there looks good, doesn’t it?” says Evangelis, who thinks climate change “sucks”. “We can feel the effects; in the past five years the seasons just haven’t been the same.”

Maria Jakobsen also stares up at the artificial planet, but on her face disdain mixes with awe. “Think of all the resources it took to get that thing up here, and then we are supposed to save energy?  I am really pessimistic about climate change. I think planet Earth is totally f***ed, but if there is a chance to fix it then we must live much more consciously.”

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