Sunday, January 6, 2008

White on White

I always wanted a Siberian Husky. There's something about an animal covered in enormous white fluff that seems to bring some bit of serenity into the otherwise colorful chaos of daily life. Come to think of it, my favorite painting is "White on White," by Malevich -- the 1918 painting which is simply one white square juxtaposed on another. Respite, quiet, escape.

This morning I watched quite a lovely little video (at 5 a.m.) of a polar bear eating a seal. Blood, blubber, howling -- unfortunately I was hungry when it started -- now breakfast will have to wait a little longer.

What struck me immediately was how practical all of that white fluff is... not only warmth but camouflage. Seeing it in stark contrast to the red blood and the dark seal made this apparent -- I had never thought about it before.

Published: September 8, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 — Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050, even under moderate projections for shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, government scientists reported on Friday.

The report goes on to say that polar bears will likely disappear from Alaska entirely -- Alaska is currently home to about a fifth of the world's polar bear population. It appears that the government is currently working to determine whether or not Polar Bears should be put on the endangered species list.

Today, the times ran an op-ed piece by the Alaskan governor saying that this was unnecessary at this time.

Today the AP reported:

The federal Minerals Management Service gave final approval to oil and natural gas development off Alaska’s northwest shore, drawing condemnation from environmental groups. The agency said it would hold a lease sale Feb. 6 in Anchorage for bidding on nearly 46,000 square miles of outer continental shelf lands in the Chukchi Sea.

Of course, because of the nature of the news and the newspapers, these articles run in entirely different sections, with different weight and focus. It is impossible to connect them in any sort of a daily way. Connection. Disconnection. Concealing.

Photo: Baby polar bear in snow
National Geographic

The land up for lease connects Alaska and Russia. Global -- as in the globe that I used to have in my room -- as in the globe that my children have in their room. I used to put my hand on the raised maps -- as if I could touch the world.

And this morning I wonder, if before they are gone, polar bears will adapt and begin to exhibit black spots on their fur to help them better fit in with their changing landscape.

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