Archive for June 17th, 2012
Dr. Steve Amstrup (University of Alaska, PhD, 1995) won the Indianapolis Prize for 2012.
Dr. Amstrup joins a short list of WC’s personal conservation heroes that includes Sir Ian Douglas-Hamilton for his work to save the elephants, and Dr. George Archibald, for his work to save the world’s cranes, previous winners of the Prize.
The Indianapolis Prize:
The Indianapolis Prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo as a significant component of its mission to empower people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. This biennial award brings the world’s attention to the cause of animal conservation and the brave, talented and dedicated men and women who spend their lives saving the Earth’s endangered animal species. The recipient also receives the Lilly Medal, an original work of art that signifies the winner’s contributions to conserving some of the world’s most threatened animals.
Steve Amstrup’s work from 2000-2008 for the U.S. Geological Survey documented the plight to the polar bear in Arctic waters. And led directly to the classification of the polar bear as an endangered species.
But Steve Amstrup and his careful research are anathema to the Parnell Administration, which is suing the United States to reverse the classification of the polar bear as endangered. Captain Zero’s motivation is worry that the ESA classification of the polar bear will hamper oil and gas development on the coastal shelf. For Captain Zero, the iconic polar species must take second place to Alaska’s insatiable need for petro dollars. Irony is lost on Captain Zero, but the burning of those fossil fuels will aggravate the plight of the polar bears, in addition to the harm caused by exploration. A double whammy.
Steve Amstrup has retired from the USGS and lived in eastern Washington, now. He’s active in Polar Bears International. He’s an effective public speaker who can capture the climate dilemma in a single, simple phrase:
If we don’t mitigate greenhouse gas rise, all the polar bears will ultimately disappear, we will no longer be polar bear researchers. We’ll be polar bear historians.
WC’s warm congratulations to Steve Amstrup. And WC’s helpful suggestion to Captain Zero: Can you admit the possibility that you are wrong? Can you admit that climate change is real, and that polar bears, however iconic, are merely a symptom? Can you admit that Steve Amstrup is right and that you and your lawsuit are utterly, dangerously wrong?