Polar bear standing on a rock in exhibit Polar bear standing on a rock in exhibit

Make Climate-friendly Choices

Deforestation and burning fossil fuels releases rampant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This excess carbon dioxide builds up and acts like a thick blanket that traps heat around the world and disrupts the global climate, which has detrimental effects for species we care about—and for us.

At the zoo, we care for polar bears, one of the species most affected by climate change, and work toward a healthy future for the species. In a healthy Arctic ecosystem, the thickest sea ice remains through the summer months. In the fall, thin ice begins to form as the ocean water freezes, then mostly melts back into seawater in late spring. As a result of climate change, sea ice is forming later and melting earlier, making it more difficult for polar bears to hunt seals.

A Global Concern

Climate change doesn’t only affect polar bears, or the Arctic. In Chicago, it will cause more extreme heat and cold, more variable precipitation with more intense rain events, fluctuations in lake levels, and potential shifts in the wildlife species that can adapt to these changing conditions. People will have to adapt to these new conditions, as well…but there is still time to mitigate some of the worst climate-change scenarios if we come together to make personal changes while also advocating for political and systemic change.

Guests watch a polar bear swim in Walter Family Arctic Tundra

Take Action With Us

Eastern black rhino and calf in exhibit

Eat More Plants

Changing our food habits—what we eat and where we get it—is one of the most impactful things that individuals and businesses can do to combat climate change. Animal production has a large carbon footprint, so try eating a more plant-based diet (good for your health and the planet!). Even if you’re not interested in eliminating animal products completely, shifting a few of your weekly meals to include fewer meat, dairy, and animal products or shifting the types of animal protein (like eating less red meat) can make a big impact.

Birds peeking out from the grass in exhibit

Reduce Food Waste

Up to 40 percent of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten. Buy and cook only what you will eat, and support organizations and companies that reduce their own food waste. By planning your meals and grocery shopping on a weekly basis, you’ll be more familiar with what is in your fridge and pantry—and be more likely to use it before it spoils. Use your freezer more when you can’t stick to your meal plan. And, if possible, compost any food you wind up not using. All these things can save you and your family money—and help the climate!

Design element with the words "Take Action With Us"

Spread the Word

Tell friends and family, both in conversation and on social media, how changing our food habits can help mitigate climate change and save wildlife. Follow the zoo’s social media channels to see relevant updates on how you can Take Action With Us, and share those updates on your channels.

External Resources