A video of a starving polar bear collapsing on Canada’s Baffin Island is going viral for good reason — it’s the latest heartbreaking example of the devastation of Climate Change
Photographer Paul Nicklen told National Geographic that “when scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, polar bears are a threatened species in the United States, which means that they’re likely to be at the brink of extinction in the near future.
And this is what going extinct looks like — due to warming temperatures, the seals that polar bears eat to survive are disappearing along with the sea ice. Since polar bears can’t hunt in the open water, they have no food options.
Of course, humanity can help slow down the melting of the sea ice by regulation our behaviors relative to our carbon footprint, but things aren’t looking so great on that front. After all, President Trump thinks climate change is a hoax and he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, a pact between almost every country in the world entered in 2015 with the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius at the end of this century.
Nicklen says that he filmed the polar bear dying with tears streaming down his face.
It’s a “soul-crushing scene that still haunts me,” Nicklen wrote in an Instagram post. “But I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy.”