The Polar Bear in the Room

This bear lives far away from us
I stole this image from an interesting site by Mel Lefebvre

The Polar Bear has become a symbol of Climate Change for many people.  We all know polar ice is melting. A quick search for “climate change and polar bears” leads you to this:

Effect on polar bears. Polar bears rely on the sea ice to hunt, breed, and, in some cases, den.

They are a good symbol for Climate Change because although it is a huge and immediate problem, it is perceived as less important and immediate as things like finding soccer teams for my kids or destroying a carpenter ant nest.

My in-laws saw a polar bear last year, but they had to travel to Churchill, Manitoba to do it. Polar bears are beautiful and my heart goes out to them but hey man, there are ants in my house! This is human psychology at work: we ignore the problems we can’t see, feel or touch.

When I’m chatting with neighbours or  the parents of other kids, Climate Change is one of those taboo subjects like religion or politics. It’s the polar bear in the room. If I mention how little waste we produce at my house, will I make them feel guilty for not doing more?

Best not to talk about it.

I have been lucky (or unlucky) enough to have been exposed to some inspirational environmentalists who have helped me understand that there are ways to take care of my kids, the ants, AND the polar bears. I want to share them with you (along with all the juicy details  of heritage, neighbourhood, energy modelling, community engagement and, you know, how to save the world.)

So far, I hope you will agree I have shared a tasteful and well-thought-out plan for a reno which has no overt environmental “green” features beyond the simple fact that we are not demolishing a perfectly good building to build a new one.

Isn’t that enough? Aren’t we “doing our part”.

This bear lives far away from me but we are family
This bear lives far away from me but we are family

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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