How Animals are Affected by Climate Change – A Zoosemiotic Investigation of Polar Bears and Ringed Seals on Svalbard
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The purpose of the thesis is to examine the affect climate change has on polar bears and ringed seals subjective world. Climate change is affecting the world negatively in many ways. Biodiversity is essential for all life on our planet and to achieve a sustainable development. There has already been talk about a possible sixth mass extinction if we keep treating our planet like we do today. Despite not having the most important role in the ecosystem, polar bears have become a symbol not only for Arctic but for climate change globally – affecting our understanding of climate change and its effect on biodiversity and thus the decisions taken in among policy and conservation work. Polar bears and ringed seals as other arctic mammals are also driven to the edge of their natural habitat, having no place to “run”. The situation on Svalbard is unique as it is one of the places on planet earth where climate change is most significant as it happens more than twice as fast as the rest of the world. This thesis provides a zoosemiotics analysis of the effect of climate change on polar bears and ringed seals in Svalbard. Zoosemiotics and Umwelt theory enables us to investigate the subjective world of polar bears and ringed seals, how they communicate, and how climate change is changing their relationship. It gives a holistic approach to the challenges faced by polar bears and ringed seals as it connect the changes related to biology, but also examine how human representation of polar bears affect our perception which ultimately can affect what actions we take when it comes to climate change and consequently affect polar bears and other species subjective world.
Master's thesis in Energy, Environment and Society