“The Starving Polar Bear”— unfortunate, striking symbol of climate change (opinion)

A recently filmed video of a polar bear struggling to survive sparks more conversation over the severity of climate change.


By: Caters News Agency

Anakin Morales-Jimenez, Reporter

*Warning: This article or section contains graphic information about starving animals that may be triggering to viewers.*

Late summer of this this year, filmmakers and photographers from Sea Legacy filmed and captured a sight of pure suffering as a result of climate change on Baffin Island.

On the now iceless land, a ghastly and bone-thin polar bear emerged, hopelessly scavenging desperately for food, or at least some literal garbage to fill his stomach.

“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” Paul Nicklen, from Sea Legacy, told National Geographic.

The bear could hardly keep himself up; the shape of his bones could be easily seen after intense muscle atrophy, and he laid limply on the ground, awaiting a surely miserable fate.

The photographers were unable to help in that moment of time since villages were too far to reach, and approaching a predator who is starving can lead to unpredictable results without a tranquilizer gun.

Back in the early 2000s, World Wildlife Fund made the prediction that polar bears would be at high risk of endangerment of extinction because of global climate change. Because polar bears exclusively reside in the Arctic regions, the first soldiers to take the bullets of climate change, they are bound to be affected greatly.

Forwarding to this year, it is now an unfortunate reality that is not only impacting wildlife, but also impacting the human race in several parts of the world.

Here is a list of several other impacts around the world that have a direct relation to global climate change according to NASA Science:

– The amount of snowfall has decreased globally
– The Arctic Sea ice has been disappearing at a rapid rate for several decades
– The acidity of the surface of the ocean has increased by 30% since the Industrial Revolution
– The average surface temperature has increased by 2°F/1.1°C, mostly within the past 35 years
– The sea level has risen by 8 inches within the past century
– The amount of record-high weather events has been increasing, with rainfall decreasing
– The glaciers around the globe are retreating
– The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are decreasing in mass

In this point in time, saying that global climate change is a possibility is an understatement: the concept has been prevalent for decades and many other danger signals, other than the starving polar bear, need to be taken as a warning.

The culprit for these drastic changes on Earth? Us.

Our constant release of carbon dioxide emissions through consistent human activities are the main factors that endanger the ozone layer of the atmosphere. With patches being formed in the ozone layer, it allows the heat of the sun to enter the atmosphere and go through a process known as the greenhouse effect (which is how the radiation in the atmosphere warms the Earth’s temperatures).

As much as a common person might want to look towards the direction that natural emissions from nature is to blame, given the trends of extensive industrialization over the past centuries, the future of the Earth is in our hands.