it’s not too late to save polar bears – and ourselves

Steven Amstrup

With apologies to “The Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell, there is no tipping point – at least, not when it comes to global warming and sea ice.

Steven Amstrup, a senior scientist at Polar Bears International, has led a team of researchers that discovered that, contrary to expectations, even if all the sea ice in the Arctic disappeared, once the planet cooled back down, it would return.

“That was one of the great discoveries that allowed us to continue to instill hope in people that we could do something,” Dr. Amstrup says. “Human nature is such that, if you think there’s nothing you can do, you don’t do anything. So this was a really important find.”

That scientific discovery, published in 2010 in the journal Nature, is just one of the reasons that Amstrup was honored with this year’s Indianapolis Prize, which is awarded every two years to a leader in the field of animal conservation. The winner receives $100,000 and the Lilly Medal.

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