Friday, December 3, 2010
Places you should see: before they're gone.
"Why travel to the northernmost point in the U.S.? To see the polar bears that occasionally wander off their sea-ice homes and amble through the tiny town (pop. 4,500). The Department of the Interior added polar bears to the list of threatened species in 2008 as melting sea ice diminished the bears’ ability to hunt for prey. Debate continues to rage — especially in Alaska — about whether the warming trend means polar bears should be added to the more restrictive endangered species list. But when it comes to bears, why not play it safe and see them before it’s too late?"
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro," described in Ernest Hemingway’s 1938 short story of the same name, may soon become history. A 2009 report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warned that Africa’s highest peak has lost 26 percent of its icecap just since 2000, and 85 percent of the snows that blanketed the mountain in 1912. Climate change and deforestation may both be contributing factors. The study’s author, Ohio State University glaciologist Lonnie G. Thompson, warned that Kilimanjaro may be bare as soon as 2020. That will make summiting the mountain even easier than it is now, since it already requires relatively little climbing expertise. There just may not be as much to see from the top."