Listen to This Man in the Polar Bear Costume at the GOP Convention

“This is our way of bringing a lighthearted and creative message to the American people.”

John Knefel

It’s usually a safe bet that someone in a polar bear costume in the middle of summer is not a law professor in their spare time. Sometimes the world offers up a curveball.

Professor Bill Snape is a lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, has testified before Congress, and is also a guy who dresses up in a polar bear outfit to raise awareness of global warming. “We’re going to both conventions, and we go to a lot of public events, to bring our message,” said Snape. “The polar bears are in big trouble. The arctic is in big trouble. And this transcends party.”

GOP presumptive candidate Donald Trump has had a history of climate change denial. At one point, he tweeted “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” and has claimed that “a lot” of global warming is a hoax.

But it isn’t just Trump who denies the effects of human-made climate change. “The Republicans in general over the last decade have had difficulties grappling with global warming,” says Snape. “But we are hopeful. And our message here is to transcend that.”

Republicans have a rich history of denying global warming. Former GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s panel on climate change was chock-full of dumb moments suggesting that humans are not causing climate change, despite the scientific consensus that that is in fact exactly what’s happening. Like, for instance, today, when NASA confirmed that 2016 weather has been weird AF.

Republicans in Congress have made similar claims to Cruz’s for decades, following talking points provided by oil companies. What makes these arguments even more egregious is that Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil providers, had internal research showing effects of rising carbon levels nearly 40 years ago, but suppressed their findings. This year, delegates at the GOP convention audibly mocked the Democrats’ decision to include climate change in their platform.

For Snape, the time to act is now. Last year was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is poised to overtake it. Still, they’re not endorsing a party, they’re only raising awareness for their cause.

“We’re not taking a stand in this election except for saving the arctic,” he says. “That’s our candidate, the arctic.”

Snape laughed, sweaty in his polar bear costume even though the day was still young. “This is our way of bringing a lighthearted and creative message to the American people.”

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