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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ontario says polar bears now considered threatened

Polar bear populations in Ontario's north are on the decline, turning cautious concern for the animal's survival into planned action.

The Ontario government is changing the classification of the polar bear population from special concern to threatened species to ensure a greater protection of the bears.

"Once this (classification) happens, we need to create habitat regulation for the polar bear and a recovery strategy will need to be prepared by 2011," said Ivan Langrish, a communication's director for the Minister of Natural Resources.

The Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield said melting ice and low survival rates are some of the reasons why the population has been waning over the past several years.

Cansfield acknowledged the polar bear decline is a global issue caused, in part, by climate change. But she said there were measures the province could take to protect the bears.

"Because it is a climate change adaptation issue we can look at what our behaviour does here in Southern Ontario that is impacting what occurs in other parts of the world," said Cansfield.

"If we don't do something to protect them, we have a lot of work ahead of us in the next few years."

International organizations cautiously applauded the provincial government's decision, but said more work needs to be done on a national and global level to protect the species.

"It sends a message that this is Canada's heritage and it's being lost and it's being lost rather rapidly with the incredible melting of ice," said Robert Buchanan, the president of Polar Bears International.

Canada's polar bears make up more than 60 per cent of the species in the world.

According to Buchanan, changing the classification would help stop any subsistence hunting of the animal, but more importantly would send a larger message to the world.

"People are killing polar bears from the comfort of their armchairs," said Buchanan, adding people need to be conscientious before they crank up the heat in their homes or use electronic devices.

"There are provinces that are very, very proud of their heritage and they want to send a messages to the world that Canada has the leadership for Arctic issues," said Buchanan.


It is sad to learn that polar bears need more protection from humans due to our behavior. However, at least now there has been

a declaration that human behavior is causing problems for polar bears,. This is a good start.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.