Global Environmental Challenge Case Study
Description and analysis of the melting of polar ice caps
In recent years, climate change has been one of the most debated issues worldwide, and this is because of its adverse effects such as global warming and melting of polar ice. In a bid to address the issues revolving around climate change, the phenomenon of climate bandwagoning has been incepted. It is understood that bandwagoning is a typical strategic linkage involving the purposeful efforts to expand the regime mission with an aim of including new and advanced climate-oriented goals that could help every global stakeholder achieve the common goal of addressing the incessant issue of climate change (Jinnah, 2011). In the efforts to fight climate change, one of its serious effects is that it causes the melting of the polar ice caps. Agreeably, the rate at which the polar ice caps have been melting in the recent years is ever-increasing, and this has become a worrying trend. Sarcastically, the melting of polar caps in the last 20 years or so is worse than in the last 10000 years. As the ice caps continue to melt, sea levels continue to rise at an astonishing rate making life and myriads of recreational activities in the sea impracticable. The impracticability means that more efforts and attention should be channeled to addressing the backdrop issue of climate change.
On the other hand, the Polar Regions are known for their contribution to the modification of global climate, and thus, as ice continues to melt in the region, the whole world’s operations could be halted or jeopardized. Greenland, which is the world’s largest ice cap, has been captured by satellites to be melting at a very fast rate. Approximately 65 percent of the world’s ice loss happens in Greenland, and the rate of loss has more than tripled in the last decade. Although scientists have argued that the 20 years taken by satellites to revolve around the Polar Regions is a short time to make conclusions about the melting of the ice cap, quick solutions and fixes are necessary for helping address the global environmental problem.
Despite the struggles and sacrifice of scientists to address the melting of the polar ice caps, there are several barriers that stand in their way. One of the barriers standing in the way of scientists in their bid to save the melting of the polar ice caps is the lack of technology. Arguably, information regarding the ongoing situation is vital, and this can only be collected by satellites. Unfortunately, scientists lack the relatively new technology to help them keep track of the climate change particularly in the Polar Regions that remain inaccessible. Moreover, the contexts in addressing the challenge are unfriendly, and this is making it hard for the stakeholders involved to succeed in their mission. As a result, several viewpoints towards addressing the melting of ice caps have come up. Some of the stakeholders feel that it is every individual’s responsibility to help stop climate change, which will in turn help address the melting of polar ice caps.
Bellona Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The involvement of various organizations both governmental and non-governmental in addressing the issue of melting polar ice caps cannot be overlooked. Some of the key stakeholders involved in addressing the global challenge are Bellona Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Orr, 2012). First, Bellona Foundation is a recognized renowned international non-governmental organization that deals with environmental issues. Despite being based in Norway, Bellona Foundation has branches and offices worldwide, and its commitment to addressing the melting of polar ice caps in the recent years has been evident. Founded in 1986, Bellona Foundation has been to meeting and fighting climate challenges, and it achieves this objective through the identification and implementation of environmental solutions that can be described as sustainable. In the recent years, the NGO has been working towards reaching a greater ecological understanding, and protecting the natural environment. The NGO’s strategy for helping address melting of polar ice caps is highlighted in its push for governments to negotiate or come up with programs that could prevent continuous melting of polar ice (Orr, 2012).
Another organization that is involved in addressing the melting of polar ice caps is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC is a renowned international non-governmental and non-profit organization whose operations are carried out by over 1.3 million members and activists. Founded in 1970, through its experts, NRDC has worked tirelessly towards the protection of the natural resources of the world, public health, and the natural environment. It is based in New York though it has branches across the world, and this has helped in its commitment to solving or addressing global challenges. NRDC has been committed to helping address the current global menace, which is the melting of polar ice caps. The effects of the melting ice is a threat to the survival and existence of animals in the region such as polar bears, and this has prompted NRDC to step up in its efforts to addressing the global challenge. The organization has in the past rolled out plans for contributions to help fund or finance advertisements regarding the global menace on national television (Holt & Barkemeyer, 2012). Through the advertisement, NRDC believes that it could enhance people’s awareness and attract their contributions to the same. For instance, NRDC came up with a campaign known as ‘Polar Bear SOS’ that was aimed at protecting the endangered bears in the polar region by finding ways of addressing or halting the incessant melting of ice caps in the region. The campaign garnered support from major countries such as the United States. In the advertisements on national television, NRDC showed the melting habitat and how it was affecting the lives of polar bears making them be endangered. This was a hallmark contribution of NRDC towards helping address the global menace facing the Polar Regions.
A comparison of strategies and theoretical frameworks with the Punctuated Equilibrium theory
There are myriads of strategies and frameworks that could play an integral role in addressing the incessant melting of polar ice caps. Apparently, one of the primary factors causing melting of ice in the Polar Regions is global warming, and thus, preventing global warming would be a major step towards the achievement of the objective. One of the strategies of preventing global warming is controlling soot. Owing to the fact that soot absorbs sunlight and later radiates it back to the atmosphere, it is one of the major reasons for the increase in the rates at which polar ice caps melt. Therefore, the control of soot is one of the strategies that should be adopted if the menace facing the polar region is to be addressed. Scientists argue that a reduction in the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil could help in the control and reduction of soot, and this could help reduce the rate of ice loss through melting in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Another strategy for combating the ice loss in the Polar Regions is the enhancement of awareness of the effects of climate change and how to prevent them. Arguably, the recent years have seen a change in the way human beings handle environmental issues such as the loss of polar ice. This perspective may be likened to the punctuated equilibrium theory that suggests that evolutionary shifts often occur in infrequent transformative punctuations particularly to new species (Holt & Barkemeyer, 2012). Thus, it can be argued that the punctuated equilibrium theory has in one way or another contributed towards addressing the melting of polar ice caps, and this is because individuals in the modern society have been aware of the menace and are committed to addressing it (Princen, 2013).
Effectiveness of the strategies embraced by Bellona Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
As mentioned earlier, Bellona Foundation is one of the key stakeholders that aim at addressing the menace facing the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The NGO’s strategy for the achievement of the objective is that it pushes governments to negotiate or come up with programs that could prevent continuous melting of polar ice. This strategy has been effective because several governments such as the US have rolled out plans and programs to salvage the situation in the poles. For instance, the US has come up with plans to reduce the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil that lead to Arctic warming that in turn causes melting of the ice. Since the plans were rolled out by various governments, the rate of ice loss in the poles has reduced significantly, and this underlines the effectiveness of Bellona Foundation’s strategy. On the other hand, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has also shown commitment to addressing the melting of polar ice caps. Regarding its strategy, NRDC has rolled out plans for contributions to help fund or finance advertisements regarding the global menace on national television. One of the organization’s advertisements was known as ‘Polar Bear SOS.’ It aimed at protecting the endangered bears in the polar region by finding ways of addressing or halting the incessant melting of ice caps in the region. The campaign garnered support from major countries such as the United States, and the effectiveness of the strategies embraced by NRDC is demonstrated in the fact that the rates at which polar ice is lost have reduced significantly (Rootes, 2013).
Recommendation for strengthening NGO success
Despite the efforts and commitments by the NGOs mentioned above, more should be done to help strengthen their success. First, more funds should be given to the organizations to help in the implementation of their plans. For instance, NRDC strategy aims at reducing the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and thus, alternative energy sources should be purchased and distributed worldwide, and this can only be achieved if sufficient funds are in place. Moreover, both organizations need to enhance people’s awareness of the global menace, and this can be strengthened if more satellites and technology are put in place.
Holt, D., & Barkemeyer, R. (2012). Media coverage of sustainable development issues—Attention cycles or punctuated equilibrium? Sustainable Development, 20(1), 1–17.
Jinnah, S. (2011). Climate change bandwagoning: The impacts of strategic linkages on regime design, maintenance, and death. Global Environmental Politics, 11(3), 1–9.
Orr, S. D. (2012). Ethnic identity and civil society in Latvia, Poland and Ukraine: The case of environmental NGOs. Ethnopolitics, 11(2), 159–181.
Princen, S. (2013). Punctuated equilibrium theory and the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(6), 854–870.
Rootes, C. (2013). From local conflict to national issue: When and how environmental campaigns succeed in transcending the local. Environmental Politics, 22(1), 95–114.