I recently read an article in your paper on Oct. 9, “Weathertalk: Polar Bears are Coming to Iceland,” and it described how polar bears are being forced into Iceland due to habitat loss caused by climate change. The article made me think about just how important it is to protect habitats for endangered animals, like the polar bear. One important habitat for the polar bear that is currently at risk is the Artic Refuge. The Coastal Plain is located on the coast of the Arctic Refuge and is an important onshore denning habitat for mother polar bears and their cubs.

Climate change has driven more and more polar bears to den onshore, instead of on sea ice, as they did in the past, making these denning habitats even more critical to the species’s survival. Talk of drilling for oil in this Coastal Plains habitat is taking place, but drilling would damage this vital habitat for an already at-risk population.

This could be stopped by having Congress pass the Build Back Better plan and therefore ensure that the Arctic Refuge remains protected. Actions must be taken to protect the polar bear and its habitat, and this can be done by restoring protections for the Arctic Refuge in the Build Back Better Plan. I hope that future generations will be able to appreciate the polar bears as I do, instead of looking at them as creatures of the past.

Emersen Mitchell

Minneapolis

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