For those who don’t know, this is International Polar Bear Day. I did not know that. You would think I would have caught a clue when Bing put a polar bear today on the front page and I started getting all sorts of cute polar bear pictures in my Facebook feed. Polar bears by the way, are very cute. It is illegal to take bad photos of them. All photos of polar bears must involve cubs posed in a heart-shaped configuration, sure to warm the cockles of your heart. If your heart has any cockles. Some people are all cockles and no heart, but I digress…
So, I discovered it was International Polar Bear Day in my usual fashion, by employing sarcasm. Confronted by all the polar bear pics I said, “What, is this International Polar Bear Day or something??” Why yes, yes it is. Oh well then, seems like reality has exceeded my sarcasm once again. That is not uncommon.
Listen, polar bears are amazing. Truly remarkable creatures and from a safe distance, very cute. Polar bears don’t offend me at all, but than again I am not dealing with them as a menace, threatening my children, tearing up my garbage or completely demolishing my home. Yes, these things really happen.
Polar bears don’t bother me at all, but I do have this issue with memes, with mediated reality, with manipulated perceptions. Polar bears were used to engender sympathy for political causes, like global warming and environmental issues. Here we are several years later and most of the humans are freezing half to death, but the polar bears are thriving. I just watched a video of a wave breaking on the Eastern side of the country, the slushy wave. You know it’s cold when your ocean starts to freeze.
Anyway, I hate to be the bearer of good news because nothing seems to irritate people more than good news, but polar bears are not just doing well, they are absolutely thriving. Rather than pathetically drowning on a little piece of slowly melting iceberg, they’ve actually grown to such numbers that in some places they are becoming a nuisance and a menace. Polar bears have experienced a five fold increase in their numbers since the 1960’s. There are now more than 25,000 of them.