Global Climate Change

"The Earth's climate is changing. In most places, average temperatures are rising. Scientists have observed a warming trend beginning around the late 1800s. The most rapid warming has occurred in recent decades. Most of this warming is very likely the result of human activities.

Climate change can have broad effects on biodiversity (the numbers and variety of plant and animal species in a particular location). Although species have adapted to environmental change for millions of years, a quickly changing climate could require adaptation on larger and faster scales than in the past. Those species that cannot adapt are at risk of extinction. Even the loss of a single species can have cascading effects because organisms are connected through food webs and other interactions." - United States Environmental Protection Agency

We can all do our part to reduce our impact on global warming. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is proud to be an Arctic Ambassador Center. These approved organizations provide leadership for carbon emission reduction in the communities, support Polar Bears International (PBI) research projects to help conserve wild polar bears, and play a key role in the PBI Sustainability Alliance, a front-line team helping to save polar bears in a rapidly warming Arctic.

What You Can Do

Polar Bears International (PBI) scientists have put together a list of which actions you can take to have the most impact. We suggest you look through these tips, find out what you're already doing and challenge yourself to add two or three new ones. Before you know it, these new actions will become habits and you will be doing things every day to help polar bears and other wildlife!

  • Skip the drive-through and go inside; don't idle your engine for more than 30 seconds.
  • Keep your car tuned up and keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Let your utility company know that you want to subscribe to green power.
  • Turn off appliances and electronics when they are not in use. Use low-tech methods when possible (e.g., line-dry clothes).
  • Try not to buy products that result from tropical deforestation (e.g. unsustainable palm oil, coffee that isn't shade-grown, South American beef).
  • Eat at least three meatless meals per week.
  • Buy products created closer to home: for example, if you live in the U.S. or Canada, purchase goods made in North America instead of those shipped from other continents.
  • Encourage friends and family to try taking new actions—lead by example.
  • Join community activities such as planting trees, recycling drives, or ride-your-bike to work days—or start your own.

Teacher Workshops

Find out about our next Climate Change workshop for teachers.

more to explore

Environmental Protection Agency - Explore comprehensive information on the issues of climate change that is accessible and meaningful to all parts of society: communities, individuals, business, states, localities, and governments.

National Geographic - View short films, including "A Way Forward: Facing Climate Change", "Antarctica Ice", "Glacier Melt", "Greenhouse Gases," "Global Warming 101" and "State of Polar Bears".

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) - Check out the planet's vital signs, read recent news stories and find out about the latest energy innovations.

NPR (National Public Radio) - Play videos from Robert Krulwich's five-part cartoon series "Global Warming: It's All About Carbon."

NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) - Read the Arctic Theme Page - "What has been happening to polar bears in recent decades?"

Washington State Department of Ecology - Read clear and concise explanations of global warming, climate change and the impacts on humans and wildlife.

Download a list of Climate Change Web Resources.