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The Battle to Save the Arctic from Drilling is Heating Up

Greenpeace’s oil-rig occupation may be over, but the struggle to preserve a pristine Alaskan environment is far from finished.

Photo © Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace via Twitter user @zoevirginia

If you happened to be drifting in the Pacific Ocean last Monday, 750 miles northwest of Hawaii, you might have seen what looked like the opening sequence of an action movie—a rigid-hulled, inflatable boat skipped along the high seas. Briny wind and ocean spray whipped across the occupants of the craft as they sped towards their target: an Arctic-bound oil rig being hauled toward a Seattle port. When they reached the steep side of the rig, the climbers mounted it using ropes and climbing gear.

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New Hybrid Species Threaten Santa's Home Grolar Bears and Narlugas: New Arctic Hybrids

As the arctic ice cap vanishes, polar bears and grizzlies are meeting. And mating, forming a new hybrid species of "grolar bears."



Polar bears and grizzlies are now breeding, creating a new hybrid species of "grolar bears." (Note: the above photo is not a "grolar bear," which aren't yet represented by any Creative Commons-licensed photos, but a plain old boring polar bear.) Narwhals and belugas too are suddenly swapping genes. Why, after thousands of years of separation, are these arctic species finding mates from the subarctic? Climate change, it seems.

The latest issue of Nature features an article, "The Arctic Melting Pot," that delves into this new trend. Says lead author Brendan Kelly, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Alaska, "The rapid disappearance of the Arctic ice cap is removing the barrier that’s kept a number of species isolated from each other for at least ten thousand years."

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Here's a rather scathing PSA from Plane Stupid. (Note, if you get squeamish at the thought of seeing polar bear deaths depicted in a fairly gruesome-and slightly absurd-manner, or if you yourself are a polar bear, you might think twice about watching.)[vimeo][/vimeo]Wow. Granted, each flight doesn't literally kill a polar bear. This isn't some sick inversion of the ringing bells that beget angel wings from It's a Wonderful Life. But it does hammer home the increasingly annoying reality that most of the greatest technological advancements in human history-especially those related to convenience, mobility, and power-have brought about some of the worst environmental problems in the present. And the specific point is well taken: Air travel produces ungodly emissions, so if you're going to fly, make sure the trip is worth it.Via Treehugger. Thanks, Zach.

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