[Please note: some timely details and references may have changed since original publication of this blog and, consequently, are no longer valid.]
Early in November, as polar bears wait patiently for the sea ice to form so they can return to hunting seals on Hudson Bay, enthusiasts the world over will celebrate Polar Bear Week, taking place in the first week of November.
Quark Expeditions has long been a passionate supporter of the Arctic region, home to these magnificent creatures. Thousands of Quark Expedition passengers have enjoyed unforgettable sightings of polar bears on many of our Arctic voyages.
After experiencing the unique and fragile Arctic environment, many Quark Expeditions passengers become life-long polar bear advocates and supporters of Polar Bears International (PBI), the world's leading polar bear conservation group.
In fact, over the last eight years, passengers have raised over $1 million USD towards environmental and conservation efforts, including the work of PBI.
Quark Expeditions is proud to join PBI in the "Take the Next Step" energy conservation campaign in honour of our fuzzy and furry friends of the Arctic. We invite you to join us as we support PBI in its quest to save polar bear populations by saving their Arctic sea ice habitat.
How to Save Polar Bears: Take the Next Step
Longer ice-free seasons have become a threat to the survival of these Arctic ambassadors. As Arctic sea ice thins, polar bears spend more energy surviving on their fat stores for extended periods of time, as global warming wreaks havoc on their polar habitat.
One of PBI's initiatives is a petition to world leaders at the climate change talks in Lima, Peru this winter. You can sign the Petition for Polar Bears and let world leaders know you support global greenhouse gas reduction planning and renewable energy.
Working Together to Ensure a Future for Polar Bears
This Polar Bear Week, we encourage everyone to "Take the Next Step" by taking energy-saving actions to reduce individual greenhouse gas footprints, to help collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions and limit the damage to the polar bear habitat. Take the following next steps and help polar bears:
1. Raise the temperature on your thermostat.
Raise the temperature by a few degrees to save on your cooling costs and install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day. Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter, and 65-68 degrees at night to keep you comfortable.
2. Cover all bare floors.
Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
3. Replace standard bulbs with CFLs.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, while giving off the same amount of light. You can also recycle your CFL bulbs.
4. Use power in your kitchen more efficiently.
Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers; you’ll use less energy than with a conventional oven. Set your refrigerator temperature between 30 and 42°F and use the power-save switch if you have one. Keep your freezer full – it uses less energy than an empty one. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
Set your dishwashers on economy mode to use less water and electricity, and turn it off after the wash cycle. Let your dishes air-dry – you'll save energy and keep your dishwasher from heating up your kitchen.
5. Avoid energy vampires.
Plug electronics into a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use to save on energy costs – even when they’re turned off, home electronics in “standby” mode use energy to power features like clock displays. Consider a laptop next time you're looking to buy a computer, as they use less energy than desktop computers.
Set your computer to sleep or hibernate mode instead of using a screen saver to use less electricity during periods of inactivity. Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use. Many chargers draw power continuously, even when the device is not plugged into the charger.
6. Close unused air vents.
If you have central air conditioning, you can close air vents in rooms you're not using so you're not paying to cool them. Don’t block air vents with drapes and furniture and be sure to check for leaks so you know air isn't escaping through openings such as doors and windows.
7. Take the stairs over the elevator. Take your bike over your car.
When you do need to drive, reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating slowly, maintaining a steady speed, and keeping within the speed limit.
Image credit: Xavier Battlori
The “Take the Next Step” energy challenge is part of PBI’s Save Our Sea Ice (SOS) Campaign. Throughout the year, PBI issues challenges to the public, like the “No Idling Challenge” held on Earth Day and the “Pedal for Polar Bears Challenge” on Endangered Species Day this past May.
To learn more about PBI and the important work it’s doing to preserve the Arctic environment for animals and humans alike, visit the PBI website. Join Quark Expeditions as we support PBI and people worldwide in taking steps to protect the pristine Arctic environment for generations to come!
Quark Expeditions is profoundly committed to environmentally responsible tourism. Find out more about our sustainability initiatives by reviewing our Polar Promise, the most comprehensive sustainability strategy in the Polar Regions.
Support polar bear research and get a jump start on your holiday shopping!
For the week of Nov 2-8, 2014, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our Polar Bear pendants in our online Pop-up shop will benefit Polar Bears International.
Book our Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic expedition for a chance to view this vulnerable species in its natural habitat.
Learn more! Polar bear facts:
See polar bears in the wild on our Spitsbergen Explorer voyage: