With the change, the company is hoping to spark a fund-raising campaign that will add $4 million to a World Wildlife Fund effort to give the animals, which some scientists predict may be the first major species to go extinct because of climate change, a hedge against warming temperatures and melting ice.
I mentioned this to a friend the other night, and she snorted in derision. "What do they think they can do about melting ice?" she demanded. "What good will $4 million do?"
In other words, a mere drop in the can?
Not so, says the WWF's Katherine Neebe, who leads the non-profit organization's partnership with Coca-Cola.
The WWF is working on "Last Ice Area" - which might sound romantic if not for the tragedy of the situation. Actually it might be a matrix of areas in Greenland and Canada, where scientists expect the ice to last the longest.
The area would be about twice the size of Texas, in total, and would protect the habitat not only for the bears, but also for the native Inuit people. The WWF is also funding research on the biology of the bears and their needs and is promoting sustainable hunting practices. (Yes, the Inuit hunt polar bears as part of a cultural tradition, but that's not the major threat to the polar bear, scientists say.)
About 500 bears are killed per year by humans across Canada