by Eric Martin
Camille Paglia complains about trends in education, and holds herself up as an example of her own critique:
This whole thing about global warming – I am absolutely incredulous at the gullibility of people. What is this hysteria over drowning polar bears? And finally I realized, people don’t know polar bears can swim! For me, the answer is always more facts, more basic information, presented without sentimentality and without drama. To inflict this kind of anxiety on young people is an outrage.
Oh is that the answer is it?
The retreat of ice has implications beyond the obvious habitat loss. Remaining ice is farther from shore, making it less accessible. The larger gap of open water between the ice and land also contributes to rougher wave conditions, making the bears’ swim from shore to sea ice more hazardous.
In 2004, biologists discovered four drowned polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, and suspect the actual number of drowned bears may have been considerably greater. Never before observed, biologists attributed the drowning to a combination of retreating ice and rougher seas.
This is, as it were, pretty basic information. Aside from the information being readily available, conceptually Paglia's argument is seriously misguided at the very least. There are plenty of animals that can swim that can also drown. Take, for example, human beings.
(via The Eds)