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A photo by Don Gutoski, titled “A Tale of Two Foxes,” won the wildlife photograph of the year award. The annual competition, sponsored by London’s Natural History Museum in partnership with BBC Wildlife, selected this photo from a pool of 42,000 entries because of the strong statement that it makes about climate change. Jury member Kathy Moran writes,”What might simply be a straightforward interaction between predator and prey struck the jury as a stark example of climate change, with red foxes encroaching on Arctic fox territory.”

Fox eats fox


The picture was taken in Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, Canada where the receding ice sheets are spelling bad news for everything living there. Animals who would have rarely interacted before are now being forced into contact with each other, competing for limited resources. The arctic fox, who’s magnificent white coat once gave it good camouflage to hunt in a large snowy domain, is now hunting on mudflats, where their coats actually draw attention. They are poorly adapted to this new environment and are now becoming the victims of the better adapted red fox who is following the warm weather further and further north.

The photographer describes his experience. “From a distance, Don could see that the red fox was chasing something across the snow. As he got closer, he realized the prey, now dead, was an Arctic fox…In the Canadian tundra, global warming is extending the range of red foxes northwards, where they increasingly cross paths with their smaller relatives, the Arctic fox. For Arctic foxes, red foxes now represent not just their main competitor – both hunt small animals such as lemmings – but also their main predator. Few actual kills by red foxes have been witnessed so far, but it is likely that conflicts between the two mammals will become more common.”

Despite the grizzly reality of what this photo depicts, it is incredibly difficult to look away. The sheer beauty of these two creatures who have evolved over thousands of years to thrive in their own native ecosystems, reduced to this grotesque and aberrant state is just one example of how climate change has altered the lives of so many species.

The stark reality is that as we pump more and more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, we are adding more heat and energy into the climate system which is causing extreme fluctuations in global temperatures. There is now currently more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been for the past 800,000 years, and according to NASA, the world has gotten three degrees warmer within the last hundred years. All of this extra heat is melting the glaciers at the astounding rate of 8.8 million acres per year.

What Can We Do About This?

Knowing what we do about the impact of climate change, it can be easy to feel defenseless or that this is a problem too large for us to even make a dent in. This, however, is hardly the case. While the carbon emissions of large industries like coal and oil need to be regulated, as an individual you have an incredible opportunity to start reducing your own carbon footprint. People are making small changes every day like choosing to walk or bike to work rather than driving, seeking out recycling bins for plastic waste, and even being mindful of the impact of their consumption choices. In keeping with this theme of doing small things, there is another solution that can have an enormously positive impact for the planet – and, it might just be the simplest one yet: changing the way you eat.

We all have the chance to lower our personal carbon footprints every time we sit down for a meal. By opting to eat fewer meat and dairy products in favor of plant-based alternatives, you can literally halve your own carbon footprint – yes, halve!

Why is this? Well, one of the largest drivers of greenhouse gas emissions is animal agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent.

Not only is animal agriculture responsible for exorbitant greenhouse gas emissions, this destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores. One Green Planet believes that our global food system dominated by industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis as this system also causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation – and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction. And yet, one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity.

“The real war against climate is being fought on our plates, multiple times a day with every food choice we make,” says Nil Zacharias, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet, ”one of the biggest challenges facing our planet, and our species is that we are knowingly eating ourselves into extinction, and doing very little about it.”

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, it is One Green Planet’s view that our food choices have the power to heal our broken food system, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.

By choosing to eat more plant-based foods you can drastically cut your carbon footprint, save precious water supplies and help ensure that vital crop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock.

For the future of struggling species, like these foxes, we all need to start eating with the planet in mind. To learn more about how you can save species with your next meal, join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

All image source: Dan Gutoski

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367 comments on “Why This Heartbreaking Photo of 2 Foxes Will Inspire You to Stand Up for the Planet”

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1 Years Ago


1 Years Ago

While the idea is noble, it\'s a poorly thought out concept. Kinda like playing checkers when your opponent is playing chess. All of these plants you want your readers to eat are fertilized in two ways. Chemically through the breakdown of natural gas, or naturally through the re-utilization of agricultural waste(manure).

The real problem is human overpopulation. Reduce the population by 5 or 6 billion, and there are no more problems. Treat the disease, not the symptoms.

Cenk Tekin
04 Jan 2017

You realise there are big problems with genocide, don\'t you?

07 Feb 2017

Aston, you are absolutely right!

26 Jun 2017

Aston, right on, also cutting down all the trees in the Amazon and other countries, including America is adding to the problem,.. do more to recycle trash, I heard in some European country they were making roads from trash. also hemp is a good way to go!

Carol Ames
27 Jun 2017

Aston, you are 100% correct. When I was born, there were 2 billion people on the planet. We need to reduce the global human overpopulation by 5 or 6 billion. It is being predicted that by 2050 the human overpopulation will have reached 9 billion. Nothing is being done NOW to prevent this catastrophe! Everyone should have open access to birth control, including abortion and sterilization, men, too, need to be included. Stop acting like studs!

Religion is a contributing factor. "Be fruitful and multiply" is terrible advice! Support women\'s right to choose!

Ted C
1 Years Ago

Wow, the people who comment on this site sure are brainwashed. How as the cool aid folks?

Eva Wowor
1 Years Ago

Yes stop those bludy morons to kill them

1 Years Ago

Already vegan, but this article inspired me to offset some of my flights using World Land Trust\'s offset scheme. I\'ve been putting it off for a long time. If anyone\'s interested in other lifestyle changes besides just diet, check out the \'move your money\' campaign about ethical banking/investments, and look into switching to a 100% renewable energy provider, like ecotricity. These are one off changes that you only need to do once then stop thinking about it. One thing I haven\'t really looked into is my pension scheme - I bet that\'s funding loads of unethical stuff without me being aware.

Also, for everyone complaining about human population growth issues, why not put your money where your mouth is and support www.popoffsets.org :)

David Konduc
1 Years Ago

Scary as Fuck!

Debra Boroff
1 Years Ago

Stop making so many kids. We're breeding like rats. Especially in 3rd world countries. Teach them birth control. Offer free sterilization. Most of those kids have no future except to grow up and breed some more. Same in this country, if a woman wants to get fixed or a man do it. Don't discourage it. It'll save a lot of unwanted children

28 Dec 2016

Do you know, that especially in the 3rd world countries they are living with 3 or even 4 generations in one house? They depend on each other. We need to change that they need each other in that way. Nothing else!

Jimmie Sober
07 Jan 2017

I agree 100% with Debra Boroff.

26 Jun 2017

Debra B, so true. too many people no sense, how about the 10 Commandments. easy, just follow them! not being religious, just using some commonsense,

Humy Florin
1 Years Ago

we are a disease on this planet

lynda cippoletti
1 Years Ago

the "big guys" deny global warming. it\'s right in front of them,they do not care. money counts,not ppl or our beautiful animals. what will happen in the next 4 yrs is very diturbing

Irma Rivera
1 Years Ago

Stop mistreatment and killing innocent animals for stupid reason


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