Environmentalists have ditched the polar bear and chosen the kitten as the new mascot of global warming.
Environmentalists with the Sierra Club have brought kittens into the climate debate. The group released a video featuring kittens poorly cropped over scenes of natural disasters. Partway through the video, text reads “stop climate change… or the kitten gets it (and so do we).”
The implication is that kittens will likely be killed by “extreme weather” that environmentalists say will increase as the Earth warms due to rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The video is intended to be a call for other activists to join the “People’s Climate March” in New York City next month.
“If this adorable kitten video doesn’t convince you we haz (sic) a climate problem then maybe nothing will,” the Sierra Club says on its website.
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The climate march will be held just days before the United Nation’s climate summit next month, which President Barack Obama is expected to attend. Environmentalists hope that drawing a large crowd will spur the president and international delegates to reach an international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“The People’s Climate March — held just days before the United Nations Climate Summit — is an unparalleled opportunity to let our world leaders know how urgently the public is calling for solutions to climate disruption, and how we need to move quickly from dirty fuels to clean energy,” the Sierra Club says on its website. “Besides, it just might be the biggest public outpouring of support for climate solutions this planet has ever seen!”
Kittens have become an Internet sensation, from videos to memes to listicles. Kitten popularity has most definitely outpaced the polar bear, which has become more controversial as more research has been done on the effects global warming has had on habitats.
The polar bear became an icon of global warming after former Vice President Al Gore portrayed the animal in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” struggling for survival in a melting Arctic habitat.
But research has shown polar bears are doing quite well despite being listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.
There are actually more polar bears alive today than there were about 40 years ago, according to population estimates. Yet even the official polar bear estimates are a “qualified guess,” and its likely there are more polar bears than current estimates show.
In fact, there are so many polar bears in the Davis Strait area between Greenland and Canada that populations there have reached their “carrying capacity” — the outer limits of what the natural environment can sustain.
More significantly, scientists can’t distinguish between Davis Strait bear populations that have reached their carrying capacity and those affected by global warming.
“We have at least two reports in the peer-reviewed literature that state flat-out that the presumed negative effects of declining sea ice on a population’s size are indistinguishable from a population that is as large as it can get,” Dr. Susan J. Crockford, a zoologist with more than 35 years of experience, wrote in a blog post from last year.
“Rather than being proven victims of Arctic sea ice in a ‘death spiral’ due to global warming, when they finally present the data, biologists have to admit that they cannot actually tell the difference between a polar bear population that is so large that it can no longer increase and one that is suffering a population decline because of reduced sea ice,” Crockford added.
With evidence suggesting that polar bears are still flourishing, environmentalists needed to find a new mascot for global warming. But it’s unclear how well the kitten is working out for environmental groups so far, as the Sierra Club video only had 3,150 views since being posted on YouTube last Friday.
Many of the commenters were critical of the video, pointing out its poor production quality and the hilariousness of using kittens as a rallying cry for action on global warming.
“Absolutely hilarious,” said one commenter. “The originators’ case must be in really serious trouble to resort to crass sentimental garbage like this. Whatever happened to the Polar bear? — not cuddly enough?”
Another commenter said “this is so bad and hilarious at the same time. so fabulous in stupidity and religion, it’s like something Monty Python would do to embarrass climate retards.”
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