– Rascal! Rascal! – called Tola, running through a meadow as fast as she could. – Rascal, droughts and floods are coming! It’s going to be so hot that nothing will grow in the fields! The climate is changing – she yelled, completely terrified.
– Wow, Tola, what are you talking about? I’m sleeping here safely and there is no drought in the backyard, see – answered sleepy-feeling Rascal.
– But Rascal, I’m serious. The climate is changing because we drive cars, keep all the lights on in our houses and we do not take care of our environment. It’s going to be much warmer soon… – she explained.
– Car exhausts are the cause of the global warming? Hmm, that would be good, because the winter is coming and I don’t like to freeze. If it’s going to be warm, then I’m okay with that – he barked happily.
– But Rascal! – The kitten almost started to cry, seeing that Rascal had no idea how serious this issue is.
Luckily, Pola turned up.
– Pola, could you please tell her that there is no such thing as climate change and we’re not in danger of a drought – he asked.
– Hoo, hoo, hoo, Tola is telling the truth – confirmed the owl.
Rascal got used to having one crazy friend, but he didn’t expect Pola to say such things as well?
– You mean that exhaust fumes or using electricity in Europe will cause glaciers to melt somewhere far, far away? – he asked in disbelief.
– Ok, then I would like to see it with my own eyes, otherwise I won’t believe it! – called Rascal.
The doggy stood up and reached behind a dustbin. He found a cap, a scarf and gloves which he gave to the girls.
–If this is true, tomorrow I will start to save water, electricity and whatever else you want. But if not, I promise I’ll drive a car or a huge excavator all day – he laughed, imagining the air becoming brown because of fumes and dust from the excavated soil.
Pola looked at Tola, rolled the scarf around her neck and uttered the magical formula she learned from Granny Amalia.
– „All that is good, all that is new, take us away, show us the truth. Take us to the Arctic, near the North Pole”.
The backyard whirled around them and within seconds, they found themselves somewhere in that region. Snow and ice were everywhere and nothing else was visible.
–Brrr, it’s so cold in here – Tola shivered after taking a few steps in the snow.
–I guess your warmer climate hasn’t reached here yet. It’s colder than in my freezer – Rascal laughed, watching Tola’s whiskers turning into little icicles.
Pola was about to answer, but then they all heard a loud crack…
– Krrrrrr!!! Trrrrr!!!
After several minutes of walking through the snowy and icy area, the friends reached the coast of this cold land. They saw a huge, ice-cold arctic sea spread out right in front of them with floes and icebergs floating in the water. Snow and ice were the only things visible on the horizon. It seemed like nobody was there…
– My paws are freezing… – moaned Tola, stomping through the snow.
– Tole, come on! – Rascal laughed with a hint of sarcasm. – ‘It’s so hot that I’m dreaming of a cold lemonade. But I can’t find ice, the climate is getting warmer after all – he smiled widely.
– Pola, I think I will drive an excavator the entire day tomorrow – he suddenly barked to the owl.
They felt the ground shaking and suddenly a large crack appeared around them in the ground.
-Ooooooh, what’s happening?! – cried Tola, digging her claws into the snow.
– Whoah, it’s moving! The ground is moving! – accompanied Rascal, afraid of the weird noises coming from around.
– Khrrrrrr! Trrrrr! Bam!
– Aaaah! We’re moving!’
– Hoo, hoo, hoo, look! The ice broke away from the rest of the land. You’re standing on a huge floe and moving further and further from the land – cried the owl.
– Help!!! – yelled Tola. – I can’t swim! – she cried and dug her claws more firmly in the ice.
– Be quiet, I’ll think something up in a second! – said Pola, flying above them. She tried to look around and find a way to rescue her friends. After a while, she flew down and called at the dog…
– Rascal, hold on me and I’ll try to pull you and the floe towards the land. As soon as it touches the ground, grab Tola and jump on the shore.
Rascal nodded and did exactly what the owl asked him to. In a minute, they found themselves right next to the shore. The dog was about to jump, when suddenly, something hit the floe with enormous strength…
One half of the floe flew up into the air while the other sunk in the water.
– Aaah! I’m falling! – Pola cried even louder.
At the same time, a large hairy paw caught the three friends and pulled them towards the land.
Rawr! – roared someone.
It was a huge polar bear – it was him who hit the floe so hard that friends flew into the air. He did it to be able to catch them easily.
– Gotcha, my little seals – roared the bear and pulled them towards his mouth.
– Woof, woof, woof, I’m not a seal! – denied Rascal and bit the bear in his paw. The predator was so surprised that he released friends but after a second he caught them again with the other paw.
– If you’re not seals, then what are you? I’m so hungry that I could eat even a barking seal –he roared again.
– I’m a cat – squeaked Tola – and I’m really unpalatable. Don’t eat me!
– And I’m an owl. My feathers could cause an upset stomach – Pola chimed in
– That’s interesting… – muttered the bear, thinking about what he had just heard. – I haven’t eaten any owls or cats yet –He gazed at his prey and added, as if trying to explain his behaviour – Since my home – the glacier of the Arctic – started to melt, and parts of ice started to break away from the land, the distance I have to cover in the water to find seals is becoming longer and longer. Now I’m not able to reach the area where I can find the best delicacies. A while ago, I thought I will starve and here’s what I saw: three tasty snacks coming right to me – the bear smiled, showing his sharp teeth.
– But polar bears are excellent swimmers – said Rascal, afraid that he and his friends would soon become the new delicacies in the bear’s menu. – Are you sure you don’t want to try to find your seals and have a real feast?
– Ha, ha, ha, that’s a good joke. Do you know how far away seals live? – laughed the bear.
– Well… no – admitted Rascal.
– Far. Even very far from here. There was land here a few years ago – right here, where you are standing. The coast was much further. After reaching it, I had to swim only about ten minutes to find seals. Now the land shrank and there is much more water. Even when I float on a floe for an hour, I can’t see their colony. I can swim but it’s way too far even for me. Look how skinny I am… – he answered.
The bear moved away his paw and friends saw that despite his big size, he actually looked extremely weak.
– Oh dear… so the climate change is real and the Arctic is melting… – said Tola, feeling deeply moved.
– We’re really sorry – added Rascal, now believing in what the kitten had told him
– I’m sorry too… my grandfather told me that in the past it was so cold and there were such strong snowstorms that we were able to move around hundred kilometres, far, far away from the North Pole and we still were able to find food. Now it’s not the same… so please, forgive me for what I’m going to do but thanks to eating you I will recover enough strength to reach the seals’ colony… – the bear added with regret.
– Rooaarr! – zhe pulled the friends closer to his mouth. He was about to swallow them when Pola suddenly began to shout.
– Don’t eat us! We can help you!
– You? How? – the bear was surprised but also a little curious so he pulled them away from his mouth.
– We can stop… or at least significantly slow down climate change. The ice of the Arctic will melt anymore at such a dynamic speed… – she tried to convince the bear.
– Really? And how can you do that? – asked the polar bear, intrigued.
– See, the ice melts because more and more appliances produce the carbon dioxide – in our houses, factories, power plants and in many other places we produce enormous amounts of this gas. Such a high concentration (which means amount) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the climate change.
– If you let us go, we’ll do everything to convince our brothers, sisters, parents, our friends and the friends of our friends to immediately start taking care of the environment and to expect the same from others. Thanks to this, we can reduce the production of the harmful carbon dioxide…
– And you really think this will help? – asked the bear, not convinced.
– JAs the old saying goes, many a little makes a mickle. If only the three of us started to be more environmentally-friendly, then nothing would change. But, if later on a hundred, a thousand and a million of people would start to take care of the environment by lowering the emission of greenhouse gasses at home, at school or at work… then… then I think that there’s a good chance for us to reduce the effects of climate change…
The bear thought about what Pola had said for a long time. Finally, he decided to take the risk of releasing friends so that they could start introducing these changes. Who is to say why it could not be them to initiate these changes?
Questions to careful listeners
- What is the name of the phenomenon which causes the earth to become warmer?
- Where did the friends travel to in order to find out if climate change is real?
- What is the name of the bear living in the Arctic?
- How do you call the ice which breaks away from the land?
- What do polar bears like to indulge in?
- What, according to Pola, is responsible for climate change?
- What did Tola, Pola and Rascal promise the bear? How will they try to stop climate change?
- In your opinion, what could you, your friends, and adults from your family do to help the polar bear?