As we come to the end of what looks set to be one of the warmest years on record, there is plenty of reason to be concerned about the impact on the Arctic.
Traditionally, in my home regions of the world in Germany and in Scotland, a lot of people look up to the snowy north with Santa Claus and the reindeer hopefully just around the corner. Here in Bonn, I recently hosted the latest edition of Deutsche Welle’s environment radio show Living Planet. One of my interview guests was Bradnee Chambers, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Migratory Species, CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention. Towards the end of the interview, looking back over the wildlife year, I asked Bradnee how things were looking for the species that live up in Santa’s home, the High North, either all year round or just for some parts of the year. This is what he told me:
“We recently had our Arctic congress in Trondheim, Norway, and a report was released on Arctic biodiversity. It’s showing a lot of issues. Polar bears are being affected by a decrease in sea ice, and the report says in the next few decades we can expect a decline of over 35 percent in polar bears, we’re seeing a decline in the wetland systems up there, 50 percent of the wetlands have disappeared in the last decade in the Arctic. We’re seeing species like the ivory gull being affected. With the decline in the ice coverage in the Arctic we’re also going to see a lot more development, a lot more drilling, and this is going to affect the pristine Arctic waters that have been pretty much left untouched from development. And I’m afraid in general we are going to see a lot more impacts, as we see the Arctic change and transportation routes open up”.
Iceblogger: Will Santa still find his own transportation route on his sleigh down to us this Christmas?
Yes, I’m sure Santa will still find his way down from the Arctic to bring lots of happiness to all the children around the world. But I’m sure he’s watching out at the same time to see that the place where he lives is not going to be degraded or decline any further than it has in the last few decades!
Here’s hoping Santa will have plenty of helpers with that mammoth task in the coming year.
Happy Christmas to all Ice Blog readers, enjoy your end of year break.
I will be backafter the holiday, as I prepare for a trip to Arctic Svalbard in January. More soon. Here is a Svalbard pic to keep you going in the meantime and, I hope, make you look forward to some icy blog posts to come, as you “chill” away the festive season!
Related stories from around the North:
United States: Beaufort Sea polar bear population took big hit in early 2000s, study says, Alaska Dispatch
Canada: Is social media contributing to wildlife decline in Canada’s Arctic, Radio Canada International
Norway: Rapid growth in Svalbard walrus population, Barrents Observer
Russia: Scientists raise alarm over Russia’s ice-free Kara Strait, Barrents Observerhttps://www.rcinet.ca/eye-on-the-arctic/2014/12/23/finland-womens-wages-fall-behind/