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As World Warms, Heart-Breaking Video Shows What It Looks Like When a Polar Bear Starves
By Julia Conley
A video of a starving polar bear led to calls for climate change denialists to confront the real-world effects of global warming this week. Taken by a Canadian conservationist and photographer and posted to social media, the video offered a stark visual of the drastic impacts of climate change that have already begun taking root.
Paul Nicklen was traveling with the conservation group Sea Legacy in Canada's Baffin Islands, located in the Arctic, when he spotted the emaciated animal struggling to walk across the dry land—historically covered with ice in December and home to seals that polar bears rely on for food. The bear searched in vain for sustenance in a trashcan before collapsing.
"When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like," said Nicklen in an interview with National Geographic."Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like."
Nicklen received some criticism for filming the bear instead of feeding it, but he argued that sharing the image of the impact of global warming with the largest audience possible would be more productive than intervening by ending the animal's life or feeding it a small amount of food.
"There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear," he wrote on Instagram where he originally posted the video.
In his interview with National Geographic, Nicklen added, "it's not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat."
Polar bears have officially been considered a threatened species since 2008, under the Endangered Species Act, due to the ongoing loss of their icy habitats in Arctic regions.
The bears are accustomed to going without food in summer months when ice dries up, but unusually warm temperatures have caused them to fast for unhealthy periods of time and potentially starving to death.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported earlier this year that the increasingly rapid rate of melting sea ice in the Arctic is an existential threat to polar bears.
On social media, viewers of Nicklen's video called for political leaders like President Donald Trump, who has refused to take part in global efforts to minimize the warming of the Earth by reducing carbon emissions, to reconsider their climate-wrecking actions.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?
By Eoin Higgins
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
By Jeff Turrentine
First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.