Seventeen-year old Michael Young and two other teens created a website called myactions.org to help polar bears by slowing global warming. Young was inspired to help them after visiting Churchill, Manitoba during the fall when large numbers of polar bears gather on the ice there, before they move for the winter season. He is a junior in high school and was one of the teens selected by the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for the polar bear trip. “If the temperature rises they don’t have ice and without the ice they don’t have food. It’s not looking good for the bears,” he said. (Source: Cincinnati.com) Churchill has been called the Polar Bear Capital of the World due to the large gathering of polar bears each year, and the tourists who come to see them.
When you register for the website there is an Action Pledge, which reads: “I pledge to complete the 3 week ‘Green Action Team’ program because I understand that we must reduce our energy consumption, reduce our carbon footprint (CO2 emissions), reuse and recycle and do other actions to protect our planet. I will enter at least 20 actions per week on at least 3 days per week for 3 weeks. I understand that for my actions to count toward personal rewards or contests for organizations I support, I must ‘graduate’ from the 3-week program by completing my pledge.”
You can enter the number of actions you pledge to make for reducing global warming to help the polar bears. (Global warming of course, is melting sea ice so there is less habitat for the bears.)
Once you have registered for the site, there is a list of actions such as Recycle, Took A (meaning took a bus, train, etc. instead of driving), Planted A (tree, flowers, garden), Used Less, and other options. These make up the Your Actions section. There are also pages titled Build My Relationships and See Our Actions. These pages are community functions, where you can view other members’ climate change actions, and become friends with them on the site. There is also a function for inviting your friends or family members who have not yet registered. Forums are available too, with boards for Project Ideas, Saving Energy, and Suggesting New Actions.
It is an impressive website, and not just for teens. If you register for myactions.org, and find you don’t have the time to participate, you can still help by clicking the Facebook Like button, and/or the Facebook Recommend button. The point of the site is for people to understand the relationship between their everyday actions, and the loss of polar bear habitat, and loss of the bears themselves. On their home page, there is an explanation about the behavior change aspect of the site. It says new habits can be developed in three weeks. The idea of the site is for people to submit their climate change actions they have undertaken every day, and pledge to keep them for at least three weeks. Then they may have permanently altered their behavior for the better.
Image Credit: Ansgar Walk