Sunday, August 21, 2011

How I Try to Save Polar Bears

I'm regularly assigned by a local magazine publisher to write of things I know nothing about. Thank God for Google and Wikipedia.

I know next to nothing about polar bears, except what I read in newspapers and National Geographic. They tell me it won’t be long before two-thirds of the world’s polar bears die off because of the shrinking Arctic ice. Within 40 years the bears will have lost nearly half of the range they need to live in.

Figures like that depress the crap out of me. One of my assignments was to uncover small things that helpless, depressed people like myself can do to reduce global warming. Here’s one factoid I found, although I don't remember its source: If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a fluorescent one, we’d eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road. We replaced three light bulbs. It may be pathetic, such baby steps. But better baby steps than no steps at all.

For this week's Poetry Jam, we are asked for poems that attempt to make a difference. I'd like to make a difference for the polar bears.

Song of the Arctic

The Arctic is screaming
a scientist said
The blanket of ice
on top of the earth
is fraying so fast
some summer soon
the walrus and wolf
the white bear and seal
will have no ice
to wander

They are not walkers on water.
They are not Christ.
They cannot redeem the world.
They cannot make ice.

We read this in the paper
sipping lattes on Sunday
take note for a moment
like a twinge in a tooth
It passes and we forget
we are a bowling ball
hurtling down the lane
at a bevy of pins
we soon will shatter
and they are living beings
screaming in the Arctic


just jane said...

One thing you did, to save polar bears is to blog about them. Hey, if everyone did that we would have them in our minds.

Fantastic poem!

the walking man said...

Welcome to a portion of the fight Chris!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Beautiful poem, poignant and depressing like the state of the world. I wish I could aim that bowling ball at a handful of rich, powerful people who care more about their money than their country, people who care more about their show dogs and horses than any old polar bear. People who don't realize that in the end there will be no difference

Brian Miller said...

damn chris...that closing stanza casts an intense vision...really this is it...raw and real...and every little bit counts...

Beth Niquette said...


Heaven said...

a nice one on nature and preservation of our precious kin... love the way your voice screamed here...

Steve E said...

We just replaced 10 bulbs with florescent tubes. Two days ago. That takes care of our whole street--grin!
(Those fixtures are not cheap!)


Zed said...

Good poem. Powerful image. You are on a mission. I can tell! :-)

Titus said...

Something really compelling about the rhythm in that first stanza. Wonderful, unexpected.

And hell yes to the the message.

Mama Zen said...

Fantastic write! I feel this same helpless depression.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This is great!!! I live in a 900 square foot house in all florescent bulbs..woot! I walk everywhere i can and we only have one car so that way we reduce the carbon footprint...small spaces are great though.

Thank you for writing this, I feel even closer to you than I did before.

xo G

Dianne said...

work it baby, work it.
and may the polar ice be with you.

Gerry Snape said...

they look so cuddly and act so fierce
but we can't do without keep them in the news....actually one killed an english lad in norway last week!

Lolamouse said...

Oh, this is so sad. I've been replacing lights in my house. Can't find the right size for those dang little ones in the chandelier though!

Syd said...

We need to do so much and yet, like the lemmings, many people still don't believe in climate change or that man has a role. I am tired of the ignorance, but will keep up the good fight for this planet.