TACOMA, Wash. – Nominations are now open for the second annual Polar Bear Paw of Approval award, which recognizes work by Pierce County businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The award program is a joint effort of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Sustainable Tacoma Commission and the Arctic Action Team.
It honors businesses that have made significant strides toward reducing the impact their operations have on the Earth’s climate.
The warming of the planet threatens the sea ice on which polar bears do their hunting. The deadline to apply for the Paw of Approval award is March 24. An application and detailed information on how to apply may be found at www.pdza.org/pawaward.
To receive a Paw of Approval, a business must demonstrate a three-to-five year record of measurable reductions in carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and/or fluorinated gases.
“This is important, pressing work, and businesses thousands of miles from the Arctic can make a tangible difference in the race to save polar bears,” said John Garner, conservation and education manager at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Outstanding local businesses will receive awards this year, following judging by members of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Green Team and the Sustainable Tacoma Commission.
The 2013 winners were Port of Tacoma, The Weyerhaeuser Co., Tacoma Community College and Unico Properties, LLC.
Polar bears are a threatened species, and sea ice is crucial to their existence. It’s the platform from which they hunt the seals that sustain their lives.
Unchecked destruction of their hunting grounds due to climate change could bring about the extinction of these largest of land carnivores.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has aided polar bear research and conservation efforts. The zoo parking lots and drives are “idle free” zones, in which motorists are asked to turn their engines off while waiting for someone in order to reduce tailpipe emissions.
“The ’Paw of Approval’ award program is another piece of our longstanding commitment in this area,” Garner said. “We’re excited that the ‘Paw of Approval’ program will not only reward local businesses for their efforts but will encourage others to curb their greenhouse gas emissions, too.”
Each Paw of Approval winner will be recognized in the zoo’s ZooPoints publication; named in a news release as a leader in environmental stewardship; invited to exhibit at the zoo’s annual Earth Day event; and treated to a special breakfast with the zoo’s three polar bears, Boris, Blizzard and Glacier.
A nomination form may be accompanied by up to five pages of additional information, including photographs or other material. Self-nominations are encouraged. The form is on the zoo website, www.pdza.org/pawaward.
Nominators will be asked to describe actions taken; provide details on the amount of reduction that has occurred; and explain why the company should be recognized as a community leader in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information, contact John Garner at john.garner or 253-404-3688.