The final version of the Paris Climate Change Agreement is now available in all six official UN languages! To view the agreement in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish, click here.
For more information about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, please click here.
International Polar Bear Day is February 27th!
Every year, this global event from Polar Bears International draws attention to the challenges polar bears face in a warming Arctic and how we each can help. Turn down the heat a degree or two and enjoy winter coziness, or hygge, for polar bears!
Climate change is felt more acutely in the Polar regions than anywhere else on the planet. Sea ice is melting rapidly and polar animals that depend on the ice are getting into trouble as a result. Take the polar bear for example. The ice that the bears need to hunt on is shrinking, and although polar bears are marvellous swimmers; even they have trouble covering the increasing open water distances between land and the ice sheets without drowning. Scientists predict that if nothing is done to change this, polar bears will become extinct within 50 years. Luckily we can help polar bears by making small changes to our behaviour. For example: Turning off the lights when you leave a room, lowering the thermostat by one degree and pulling the plug after using an electronic device all help to save energy! Using less energy produced by carbon-based fuels reduces our carbon emissions and can slow and even stop global warming, in turn saving our sea ice. Without sea ice, polar bears will decline in range and numbers, making them vulnerable to extinction in the future.
You’re invited to celebrate with Polar Bears International by signing their petition asking for a fair price on carbon. Next, take their Thermostat Challenge to save energy for polar bears (and then make it a habit!). For more information, please look at www.polarbearsinternational.org.
Five quick and simple actions that will help you save energy:
- Unplug your mobile phone charger at the wall once the phone is fully charged.
- Switch of the tv when you finish watching it (never leave it on standby).
- Switch of lights in rooms nobody is using.
- Turn the laptop off when not using it (never leave it on standby).
- Turn the heating down by one degree and put on a jumper instead.
The EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign was officially closed during the EAZA Annual Conference Wroclaw last September. The campaign ran from September 2013 to September 2015 and it can be said great things have been achieved. Many people across the globe (not necessarily zoo visitors) actively joined in the Pull the Plug pledge as well as signing the petition. An overwhelming number 250 participating institutions worldwide signed up for the Pole to Pole Campaign and showed the commitment and involvement of the zoo community towards combating climate change. It was amazing to observe the enthusiasm of all colleagues who produced educational materials, including colouring sheets, factsheets, infographics, stickers, informational brochures and leaflets as well as logos. The resources were translated from English into seven European languages including Czech, Swedish and Polish.
Until this date (Mid-January 2016) 3123 individuals registered the pledge to pull the plug of a total number of 12214 electronic devices (which are not in use) for the upcoming months. This means that together we have saved 338762 kilowatt-hours of electricity (!) which equals:
- Co2 emissions of 250.906 pounds of coal burned
- Co2 emissions of 26.285 gallons of gasoline consumed
- Carbon sequestered by 191 acres of forest in one year (Source: EPA)
The pledges of the participants were registered in a database and monitored throughout the course. Participants received occasional reminders and at the end of the pledging period successful participants received an exclusive digital photograph for personal use, taken by Daniel J.Cox/Natural Exposures and generously made available to EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign. The second year the ‘2 degrees is the limit’ petition initiative was launched. We’ve collected 17.160 signatures in total (both hand-written and digitally). The signatures, printed on recycled paper with a total weight of almost 10 kg, have been handed over to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention at the intergovernmental meeting on climate change in Paris in December last year. The Paris climate summit, COP21, resulted in an Agreement to curb climate change! Despite the fact there still is a lot to be done, we now may say that the global willingness to tackle the problem of climate change is increasing. Back in 2013, before the Pole to Pole Campaign kicked off, the campaign team identified and formulated the following objectives:
- Secure the participation of as many zoos and aquariums in as many countries as possible
- Affect positive behaviour change amongst: zoos, schools and zoo visitors
- Run as near a carbon-neutral campaign as possible
- Present a petition calling on world leaders to reduce CO2 emissions to below 350 ppm
Solar panels (Photo: Fernando Tomás)
These objectives have all been fulfilled, and yes, this awareness campaign has been quite successful! But this is only the beginning, ongoing action is required. That’s why it has been decided to keep the Pole to Pole Campaign website up and running, you can continue to take the pledge and resources will continue to be available at no cost. News and developments about climate change as well as new initiatives from the zoo and the conservation community will be published right here on the campaign site. Lots of zoos will continue spreading the word and organizing awareness raising activities.
The campaign team would like to express gratitude to all zoos and individuals who were involved in making this campaign a success. Thanks to your effort and dedication we have been able to make a difference! Please continue to use energy wisely, visit the Pole to Pole Campaign website regularly and stay connected!
As indicated in the last Pole to Pole newsletter, two Montville’s secondary school’s pupils and a teacher came visted the Elysée two months ago. They had the opportunity to meet Mr. President himself, to talk about climate change and to present him the ‘Wight Book’.
The ‘Wight Book’ is about French schools who work on climate change projects and subsequent problems. The Montville’s school project, in conjunction with the Parc de Clères learning team, was selected for publication in this book. The school worked on a flyer about the causes of climate change, and its devastating consequences. It was obviously an honour plus a life-time experience for the pupils, the teachers and Parc de Clères to have their project selected for presentation to the French president!
A few months ago the Pole to Pole Campaign also landed in Mulhouse Zoo, France. The title of the Mulhouse campaign ‘Pour la banquise, pense à ta prise’ can be freely translated into ‘For the icepack, unplug your phone jack’ to promote personal involvement in the fight against global warming.
The launch of the campaign kicked off with a great parade from the zoo premises onto the streets and to the city center whilst being accompanied by a jolly local marching band. A lot of observing people enjoyed the scene, and the participants in the march had a great time. In the city center of Mulhouse, in direct contact with the observing public, Mulhouse Zoo participants gave away performances of comedy and theatre, free hugs, and embarked on face painting activities thereby emhpasizing what we can really do to stop wasting energy. A funny game in a model apartment was also set up, while playing the game you had to find all energy-consuming objects and unplug it as fast as you can!
Mulhouse Zoo will continue with the ‘For the icepack, unplug your phone jack’ campaign the upcoming summer and fall. The aim is to make as many, if not all, zoo visitors aware of climate change and to stimulate personal action in lowering energy consumption.
Last winter Zoo Zagreb organized an educational event called ‘Zoolimpijada’ for children from 2nd to 6th grade of elementary school. The school children were at Zagreb Zoo for a day and learned about different animals, their characteristics and problems by participating in competitive games. One of the games the children were playing was the promotion of the Pole to Pole campaign.
The game consisted of teams that had to re-enact foraging polar bears that had to find prey while simultaneously coping with melting ice and life-threatening pollutants. Before the game an educator would explain the importance of the poles, the problems that the animals are facing and ways in which we can help. About one hundred children participated in the program. On the 5 January the program was also accompanied by national TV channel (NOVA TV) in which the game was shown.
We need your help with collecting as many signatures as possible to present at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in December this year.
By signing the ‘2 degrees is the limit’ petition we demand the commitment of our national governments and the European Union TO SUPPORT ALL MEASURES WHICH HELP KEEP GLOBAL WARMING UNDER THE 2⁰C LIMIT, and to work towards a binding global agreement at the intergovernmental meeting on climate change in Paris in December 2015.
Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures
The petition drive kicks off on International Polar Bear day today and will close on 27 August. During this period of six months we ask you to collect as many signatures as possible! You can download the petition sheet, collect signatures and send a scanned copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also available in German, Spanish, French and Dutch.
Alternatively, you can also sign the petition directly and urge family, friends and colleagues to sign too!
The aim of Free the Bears Fund in Cambodia is to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout the world. It’s therefore no wonder Free the Bears Fund decided to join the EAZA Pole to Pole Campaign last year.
Teaching kids in Cambodia, a country where temperatures rarely drop below 30 degrees celcius and itself home to a number of threatened endemic species, to care about Polar species might seem like a tall order – however that is exactly what Free the Bears ACE (Awareness, Communication and Education) Team did recently. The annual Pchum Ben (Ancestors Day) festival is a time for Cambodian families to gather together and pay their respects to deceased family members by making offerings at temples. But how about using the festival to make some merit with future generations by ensuring that they inherit a world filled with all of the natural wonders that we enjoy today?
Kids City, a 10-storey entertainment centre for families in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, was chosen as the site for a unique range of activities with the entire 2nd floor given over to Free the Bears to engage with visitors throughout the festival. Borrowing a sculpted penguin and Polar bear from the ice rink on the 8th floor we were able to create a dedicated Pole to Pole corner featuring Pole to Pole posters (including some specially created by local students from the International School of Phnom Penh), colouring sheets and fact sheets. Ipads were on hand with the Pole to Pole campaign website ready loaded, allowing visitors to learn more about the campaign themselves and to sign the petition (Did you sign the petition already?). Kids were guided in creating their own bookmarks, and could create ‘snowflake pledges’to hang on our (not so) Christmas tree. And of course, showing support for his snow-white cousins, Free the Bears’ mascot ‘Sunny bear’ was on hand throughout the festival, even taking to the ice rink at one time to help draw the crowds downstairs to our area!
Overall the event was a great success, and hopefully will mark just the first of several events that the Free the Bears team will hold to increase awareness of the Pole to Pole campaign over the next year.
The past months Copenhagen Zoo embarked on several Pole to Pole campaign activities. Copenhagen Zoo titled the campaign ‘Klimakampagnen’ (which literally means Climate Campaign). A campaign logo with a green paw was designed. When the zoo visitor sees the logo they know that it has something to do with the climate campaign or with the Zoo’s environmental measures. Copenhagen built an exhibition which is globe-shaped and has 8 information areas with the following themes: the Climate Campaign in the Zoo, the Pole to Pole Campaign, the global campaign (Zoos & Aquariums for 350), a short and easy to understand explanation on ‘What is climate change’ and a quiz on animals and climate change. The zoo visitor can take a folder which guides them to eight zoo animals. When at the chosen eight animals, a sign will explain more about the particular animal and how climate change affects them.
Copenhagen Zoo also set up a quiz: Are you a climate nerd? The visitor can quiz themselves (electronically) on day-to-day behaviour and find out whether they are a climate nerd. Hopefully by taking the quiz it will make them think about the choices they make in the future. In addition to this, information and videos on the Zoo’s environmental initiatives are presented, including QR codes to videos that explain which environmental measures have been taken in a particular building or enclosure. You can view (in Danish) the videos on the Zoo’s website here. Copenhagen Zoo is also working on reducing the Zoo’s carbon emission by deploying the Climate Compass.
The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fifth Assessment Report will be launched in Copenhagen in late October. Copenhagen Zoo is therefore working together with the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy on preparing a small extra exhibition on animals and climate change. Last week the climate minister opened up the exhibition. This week Copenhagen Zoo organized the ‘staff-climate-week’ with the following activities included: daily climate facts on info-screens, daily climate food facts in the canteen, a questionnaire about the staff in their daily ‘green’ routines and a ‘Zoocling (=cycling) to Work’ competition’: the winner wins a gift-voucher to a bike shop.
Lots of climate-stuff happening in Copenhagen Zoo!
Face painting at Järvzoo and De5stora
One weekend this summer Nordens Ark, Kolmården Wildlife park, Parken Zoo, Skånes Djurpark, Slottsskogen Zoo, Rovdjurscentret De 5 Stora and Järvzoo joined forces and organized a national campaign day to highlight the Pole to Pole campaign and raise awareness about the threats of climate change.
They sent out a joint press release in order to get as much media coverage as possible but each park created their own activities for the day. This included a recycling contest, displaying reptiles and educate the audience about their energy saving strategies, face painting, guided tours focusing on polar species and exhibitions. Some parks also minimized their own CO2 emission for the day by driving vehicles as little as possible and serving vegetarian food in the restaurant at a reduced price.
Activites at Kolmården Wildlifepark
See how the Pole to Pole Campaign is highlighted on the Nordens Ark website!