National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen has recently filmed a video which shows how terrifying global warming really is. The video shows a weak, starving polar bear in a desperate search for food. It’s heart-wrenching, but more than that – it’s a warning of the planet Earth that an entire species may disappear if we don’t make a change.
Nicklen posted the video on his Instagram profile, and it soon went viral. As he writes, the heartbreaking scene made him and his entire team pushing through their tears and emotions while filming:
It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death.
My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear. It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner. There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them—including us humans. Thank you your support in keeping my @sea_legacy team in the field. With @CristinaMittermeier #turningthetide with @Sea_Legacy #bethechange #nature #naturelovers This video is exclusively managed by Caters News. To license or use in a commercial player please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”
Nicklen writes that the bear wasn’t old, and sadly points out that it died within hours or days after being filmed. As National Geographic writes, the rise of temperatures and melting of the sea ice causes polar bears to lose access to the main staple of their diet—seals:
Starving, and running out of energy, they are forced to wander into human settlements for any source of food. Feeding polar bears is illegal. Without finding another source of food, this bear likely only had a few more hours to live.
The sad scene made Nicklen and his team cry while filming, and I am crying as I’m writing this. But there’s no point in crying and doing nothing else. No matter how heartbreaking this scene is, I believe it had to be shared. Maybe it can help us realize how devastating climate changes really are, and get us to make a change. As Nicklen points out, the solutions exist: “We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first.”