Polar bears have become the face of climate change. Whether these animals asked to become the center of the world’s most pressing issues or not, they have found themselves caught in the crosshairs of rising global temperatures, left with nowhere to go as their home melts right from under their feet. In June 2016, the average rate of Arctic sea ice loss was 22,000 square miles per day, following the trend of a 3.7 percent decline per decade. This ice is not only vital polar bear habitat but it plays an important role in moderating global temperatures and weather patterns. Not to mention, the majority of the world’s freshwater is stored in ice sheets and as they melt away, we are left with an overabundance of saltwater.
Now, unless you live in the Arctic it can be easy to detach from this looming issue … unfortunately, polar bears do not have that luxury.
This photo taken by Ashley Cooper features a polar bear who has starved to death as a consequence of climate change.
Without sea ice to hunt on, polar bears are being forced to eat dolphins, move into closer proximity with humans – to the point where they’re even eating plastic trash, or becoming stranded in the middle of the Arctic ocean.
The saddest part of this image is we all play a hand in the demise of this species and his native home. There is now currently more carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere than there has been in the past 800,000 years, and the bulk of this and other greenhouse gases come from human industry. While burning fossil fuels is a huge source of greenhouse gases, there is one industry responsible for more emissions than even the transportation sector that largely goes unnoticed: animal agriculture.
One Green Planet believes that our global food system dominated by industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis.
This destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this system causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction.
But the good news is we can all take action to put an end to this destruction. By simply choosing to leave meat and dairy off your plate, you can halve your carbon footprint, save precious water supplies, and help save countless species from extinction. With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind. Check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet movement to learn more!
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Image source: Ashley Cooper/Globalwarmingimages.net