World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day, initiated by the United Nations to stimulate debate about environmental issues around the world. This year's theme is "Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?" in support of International Polar Year. The focus is on the effect of climate change on polar bears and their ecosystem. The earth's climate is changing; in the Arctic the average temperature has risen at twice the rate of the rest of the world during the past few decades. Sea ice is melting and this affects polar bears and seals (dependent on ice) as well as the native communities which rely on them for food. Fittingly, celebrations will be hosted by the city of Tromsø, Norway's most northerly city and home to the Norwegian Polar Institute. An art exhibition will be held in the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo featuring the work of 40 different artists and it will travel to Chicago next year. Included in their materials is a terrifying meltdown poster of the melting ice areas around the world; from Peru to Indonesia to East Africa the rate of shrinking, and retreating is proceeding faster than ever before. Thirty mountain glaciers lost more than a metre of thickness in 2005, resulting in a 0.6 degree rise in temperature this century. There are activities taking place around the world to educate and inform: art, music, seminars, Al Gore, and Town Hall meetings. Find one in your area and walk, don't drive to it. :: World Environment Day

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