Living on thin ice

Go through the article and number the paragraphs.

Look at the source of this article. What does it say about the target readership?

The headline is both literally true, as the ice melts (if it is melting; have I succumbed to environmentalist propaganda?) and a metaphorical pun on the saying “skating on thin ice”. What is the implication of the metaphor for this situation?

The opening paragraph presents 3 sets of opposites: “Not so long ago”/ ?; “”a symbol of cold” / ? ; “ “The traditional threats” / ?. Fill in the question marked gaps. What 3 traditional threats are identified, and what new threat?

The word “new” is repeated in paragraph 2. What is the impact of this?(Think “Julius Caesar” and “honourable men”!)

I find this paragraph a little uncomfortable, actually; whilst the overall tone of the piece seems to be pro polar bears, the description of them as “the latest poster animals in a distinguished parade” seems somewhat cynical. Maybe the cynicism is directed at the exploitation of cute looking creatures for sentimental impact. I don’t know; I’m struggling here.

You see, here we are again in paragraph 3 with the cute factor: “polar bears had even more reasons to feel loved.” This personification of polar bears, and the suggestion that they are aware of the implications of their situation just feels…snide. The colloquial phrase “pin the blame on” has the same effect. Make 2 columns, in 1 of which you list all the facts found in this paragraph. In the other, list the facts given.

In the picture, the bears look precariously balanced on the melting ice. This could be seen as a visual metaphor. Explain it.

This writer, too, breaks the conventional rules and opens sentences with “but” & “and”, & uses abbreviations – “aren’t”. Why? He also uses a short sentence in the middle of longer, more complex ones. Comment of the effect of this. Make a pictorial / diagrammatic representation of the diminuendo of resources available to the polar bears.

A sense of uncertainty is created in the final paragraph through the use of phrases such as “There are thought to be…”, “most scientists believe…”, “it may be too late…” , “To some extent…”, “it may not recover…What words or phrases used in this paragraph work against this uncertainty to suggest threat and danger? This balance of uncertainty and fear seems to me to be well set up in the (fairly) centrally positioned “After years of hesitancy, there is now a sense of urgency.” Maybe this lack of absolute certainty partially accounts for the hint of cynicism I was picking up earlier. Maybe it was never there in the first place. You decide!