Polar Bear Advocacy Toolkit
Advocate on behalf of polar bears and the Arctic
Polar bears face many challenges in a changing Arctic. Sea ice loss due to climate warming is their greatest threat—polar bears need sea ice to hunt seals, mate, and travel. Other risks include den disturbances, commercial activity, conflict between polar bears and people, and pollution.
The choices we make in our communities impact polar bears, people, and ecosystems around the world. Plug into the actions listed below based on your own skill set and what you like to do.
Participate in Government
Vote and Speak Up - The most important action you can take is to vote with the climate and polar bears in mind, in each and every election. Let your civic leaders know you support bold climate and conservation action—write them a letter or email, call their office, or visit them in person if possible.
Get Involved in Local Government - Strengthen community-based leadership by running for a local office, sitting on a committee, or regularly attending city meetings. You can also help register voters in your community or serve as a poll worker during elections. Your participation in these spaces can have a major impact on policies in your community that impact polar bears and the climate.
Talk About It
The threat of climate warming is something we all have in common. Talking about it is the first step to acknowledging our shared challenge, making room to imagine other possibilities, and sparking the will to act. Social science has found that even people who are concerned about climate change have a pattern of “self-silencing” due to social discomfort or feeling overwhelmed by the topic or insecure about the details.
Create Your Own Content
Write a Letter to the Editor - Submit a letter to your local or regional newspaper. Letters to the editor are important advocacy tools because they can reach large audiences and are often monitored by elected officials. Keep it short, focused, and reference previous articles in the publication, if possible.
Submit a Guest Essay - If you have expertise on a certain issue, write and submit a guest essay to a print or online publication. Also known as opinion editorials (op-eds), guest essays are an opportunity to share your opinion––supported by your expertise and evidence—with a broader audience. Scientists are far from the only people with authority to speak on climate change so add your unique experience to the climate conversation.
Post on Social Media - While social media is prone to echo chambers, it can still be an important platform for sharing ideas and talking about the challenges polar bears and people face. Use your channel(s) to share why you care and collaborate with a larger community. Key elements of an effective post include a clear call-to-action, emphasis on solutions, and inclusion of an image when possible. Follow Polar Bears International's channels for ideas and inspiration.
"Every time you step out the door of your house, you have some impact on the environment around you, and you have some ability to influence the world. " - Dr. Steven Amstrup, Chief Scientist, Polar Bears International
Become A Mentor
Help younger generations become active community members! Policies have intergenerational impacts and deserve intergenerational engagement.
Talk with young people about what it means to contribute to society, the importance of voting, and solutions that support a healthy climate and a future with polar bears. Encourage young people to learn about school policies and student activism and to share their ideas with their peers, parents, teachers, and administrators.
Additionally, you can help young people navigate difficult feelings surrounding current environmental and social issues. Climate warming and the loss of treasured wildlife are painful realities to face—that pain can be a generator of great strength if we allow ourselves to feel it and come together as an intergenerational community to seek solutions.
Support Green Corporate Leadership
Governments are not the only entities making decisions about our shared future—corporations and companies impact the environment people and polar bears depend on.
Vote with your dollars! Everything we spend money on impacts the planet. To reduce your environmental impact and help polar bears, buy from companies who use resources responsibly and are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and waste. You may also prioritize buying local and seasonal foods.
Pressure insurance companies and banks to make climate conscious investments. Insurance is key to all business ventures, protecting companies from risk and accidents that could easily put them out of business. The more dangerous the business, the more risk to the insurance company itself—and ventures that put polar bear populations and our global climate at risk are too questionable to insure.
If you own stock, use your position as a shareholder to urge companies to embrace polar bear friendly actions and the public good. Vote for green board members and prioritize investing in funds that support corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Knowledge is a catalyst for change. Explore these resources, and discover how we can all help ensure a future for polar bears and people across this planet.