WWF Canada communications specialist, Paulette Roberge, is attending the inaugural Polar Bears International Communicators Leadership Workshop where participants will explore the tundra, collaborate on blogs and brainstorm ways to spread the urgent message of climate change impacts on polar bear habitats.
Read her blog entry about the workshop below.
By Paulette Roberge
My migration north to polar bear country is prolonged by aircraft problems. What looks to be a gerbil darts between the feet of resigned passengers in the departure lounge – which reinforces how some species easily adapt to different environments.
But the polar bears of Hudson Bay, where I’m headed, are struggling to cope in a melting landscape. There is increased conflict with humans and greater numbers of orphaned cubs as this majestic species daily lives the consequences of a warming globe.
Communicating their plight is the reason for my journey. I’m thrilled to be part of the inaugural Polar Bears International (PBI) Communicators Leadership workshop which will have us exploring the tundra, collaborating on blogs and generally brainstorming on ways to spread the urgent message of climate change impacts on polar bear habitats.
“You are change agents,” Kathryn Foat of PBI tells the assembled communicators and educators in Winnipeg on the eve of our flight to Churchill. “The time for talk is over, now it’s about action.”
There’s no denying it’s a challenge to protect polar bears and the Arctic. Few people, including Canadians, will ever visit the Arctic. Why should they care about polar bears and changing arctic conditions? How is climate change touching their lives, their futures?
A group of teenaged former camp participants described how the Hudson Bay trek transformed their lives. They call themselves the Manitoba Arctic Ambassador Network and meet monthly to develop sustainable advocacy projects.
“Our mantra is action, communication, education,” said Joseph Peloquin-Hopfner, who believes in the value of edutainment for communicating a serious message in a fun way. So he and his brother tour schools with improv, theatre and heavy metal music performances.
Chris Kraljevic, the youngest at 16, challenged the jaded adults in the room to change the world. “This seems daunting but the best place to start is at home, with you and your daily choices.” He proudly pointed out that Winnipeg is the geographical center of North America so where better than to start thinking globally by acting locally?
This inspired message left us somewhat stunned and sheepish. It was pure role reversal. We were then tasked with crafting our first group blog, which centered on the wisdom of these young role models. You can read it and continue to follow our journey here.