Just one of the numerous species facing extinction, the polar bear is increasingly regarded as the poster animal for the damage caused by global climate change. Polar bears are pictured emaciated and marooned on melting sheets of ice and wandering into urban areas, driven by starvation and a thawing habitat.
The fact that our unsustainable consumption patterns are causing climate change is now well established. It is clear that our unbridled exploitation of the planet’s resources is causing irreversible damage. The Arctic is particularly effected, with warming temperatures — increasing between two and four times faster than the rest of the planet — leading to sea levels rising and ice caps melting.
Physical damage to their habitat force polar bears to roam further, mate with other species — to the detriment of their survival, as this creates infertile hybrids — and feed on dolphins and other anomalous food sources, for lack of anything else to eat.
The polar bear’s plight was strikingly captured by photographer Paul Nicklen, who recently immortalized one gigantic individual near Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Sadly the animal itself, and its entire species are very much mortal and increasingly threatened by our collective actions.
This striking image of a single polar bear on a sunset background seems to foreshadow the demise of the polar bear population. The setting sun illuminates the bear’s wounded face — an injury incurred from “fighting for the right to breed” according to the photographer — with the image ominously foreshadowing the twilight of this impressive and important species, and many others like it, if we do not take immediate action to curb climate change.
While this single, struggling animal may seem worlds away from us, our everyday choices are linked to the potential disappearance of his species. We can all take action to curb global warming by consuming more responsibly, and we can start by taking a closer look at how what we eat effects the planet and its inhabitants. Indeed, animal agriculture is responsible for as much as 51 percent of global gas emissions, not to mention rampant water pollution, land degradation, and deforestation. This means that consuming meat, dairy, and other animal products contribute directly to global warming and the damage it wreaks.
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. With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind.
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Image source: Paul Nicklen