By Bill Steigerwald
“Act of Endangerment”
TASIILAQ, EAST GREENLAND
Grandpa, Mother and Junior were at Erik the Red’s Sports Den. The place was crowded for the big Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
Every bear in the bar had their eyes glued to the TV monitors. Just as the Bears quarterback was dropping back to throw a long pass, the game suddenly disappeared.
“Hey!!!” bellowed Grandpa and a hundred other Bears fans.
“We interrupt this program for important breaking news,” said the announcer as two sunburned old humans appeared on screen.
“The threat posed by global warming to all life on Earth is very real,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as he and Senator Barbara Boxer of California huddled at a microphone outside the snow-covered Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. “Therefore, Senator Boxer and I have decided to introduce special legislation that will place polar bears on the Endangered Species list by the Christmas recess.”
“Oh no,” Grandpa moaned, putting his head in his big paws. “I was afraid it would come to this.”
“These majestic creatures are innocent victims of the evil axis of Big Energy,” Senator Boxer added, her voice cracking with emotion. “Our irresponsible burning of oil, coal and gas is melting the Arctic paradise of the polar bear. Without our help they will starve and soon become extinct. When our bill becomes law, however, the polar bear will be protected forever from man-made global warming by the Endangered Species Act.”
Grandpa stood up. “Listen up, all of you,” he yelled. Everyone quickly gathered around the wise and widely respected old bear.
“This is a very serious threat,” Grandpa said grimly. “If we are put on that darn list, it will mean the end of our traditional way of life forever.”
“What do you mean?” someone asked.
“An army of nature scientists, government bureaucrats and pushy celebrities will invade our land. They’re all part of what I call ‘The Axis of Environmentalism,’ ” Grandpa explained.
“They will say they are coming to protect us from global warming and to do us good. But what they will really do is slowly take away our freedoms and take over our lives. They’ll force us to change how we live, what we eat and where we can travel. It’ll be just like we’re being kept in a federal zoo.”
“But we’ll we get free food and health care,” said a young male bear sipping on his sixth Labatt Blue.
“Don’t be foolish,” Grandpa said. “Whatever the government gives us won’t really be free. Once we’re on that list, they’ll have us all wearing radio collars and carrying government ID cards. We’ll have wildlife scientists videotaping our sex lives and telling us where and what we can hunt.”
“Will they take away our snowmobiles and satellite dishes?” someone asked.
“No, they won’t take our snowmobiles or TVs or anything else,” Grandpa snapped impatiently. “Humans don’t know we have those things because they can’t see them. If they did know, they’d take them away from us in a Newfoundland minute.”
“Who will tell those humans in Washington we don’t need their help?” someone asked. “And don’t want it, either,” added someone else.
The 100 polar bears had forgotten all about the football game. An uneasy silence fell over the bar. Then Grandpa spoke. “I’ll do it,” he said in a quiet but confident voice. “I’ll explain how tomorrow night at the town meeting.”