I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation: There Are Only About 25,000 Polar Bears Left!
Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are stepping up their social innovation campaign in the U.S. this Christmas to help raise awareness and funds for the polar bears and the local people in the Arctic, so that they can thrive. So far, over $1.8 million in direct contributions has been raised, in addition to Coca-Cola's $2 million commitment. Over the last five years the brand has supported WWF's Arctic research team, who study polar bears in their natural habitat, protecting the animals from unsustainable industrial activity and educating people about the largest threats to the polar bear's icy habitat. This team's crucial fieldwork has led to a better understanding of the threats facing polar bears, the most serious of which is the rapidly melting Arctic sea ice.
The Arctic spans Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. It is a region that is very vulnerable to climate change, with diverse landscapes from sea ice to coastal wetlands, upland tundra, mountains, wide rivers and the sea itself supporting amazing wildlife and cultures. Out of all the wildlife in the Arctic, the polar bear is the most iconic for this region; its remarkable adaptation to life in the harsh Arctic environment makes it an impressive species. This is why Coca-Cola has partnered with WWF to create a social innovation campaign: it wants to build a place that polar bears can call home and ensure that it will be twice the size of Texas!
The polar bear spends its life on the Arctic sea ice where it hunts, lives and breeds. Unfortunately, the sea ice is melting at an alarming rate and the loss of habitat is now the polar bear's biggest threat. As the sea ice reduces further each summer, the polar bear loses its primary hunting ground and may be forced to spend months living off stored body fat until the sea ice forms again in the late fall. This period of limited food availability can last more than three to four months in areas like the Hudson Bay in Canada. At the current rate of melting, polar bears are likely to disappear from the southern parts by mid-century!
It is currently estimated that there are about 25,000 polar bears in the wild and the money raised from this Arctic Home social innovation campaign has contributed to the WWF's survey efforts in and around the Last Ice Area, making accurate surveys possible. Plus, the WWF has been able to move closer to its goal of keeping polar bears populations healthy in spite of their sea ice home shrinking. It has collected traditional data to support additional polar bear work.
Coca-Cola will match up to $1,000,000 in total donations made through February 15, 2013. This brand knows the threat to the polar bears and the entire Arctic region will not go away on their own and needs social innovation collaboration like this one, to give the polar bear a chance for survival.
Photo Credit: advocacy.britannica.com