Leading The Charge: Has A Polar Bear Shown The Effects Of Climate Change?

Around 700 mammals and birds are threatened with extinction because of the impact of climate change, according to scientists. Yet such figures are dismissed with the irrational taglines of ‘fake news’ that forever crop up when mentioning anything vaguely serious to do with the planet.

However, a recent video that has been published online is acting as the “face of climate change”, in a piece of footage that “rips your heart out of your chest,” – the New York Times’ words, not ours – has gone viral with people up in arms at a starving polar bear trekking through a barren land in search of food:

In a video that’s been watched over a million times, climate change supporters have pointed to the footage as evidence to what rising global temperatures are doing to the planet’s wildlife; a starving polar bear, frothing at the mouth, in desperate search of food as the mammal rummages through a dustbin is what is required for people to take the matter seriously.

There are still those skeptical about the video; skeptical to the point that top comments on YouTube get high levels of engagement – agreeing with engagement – that the bear is struggling with old age and the footage is a propaganda tool for climate change.

However, even those expected to disagree with such conclusions, such as Cristina Mittermeier – photographer of the polar bear at the time – has said it is irrelevant why the bear is in the position it is in; the bottom line is:

“The point is that it was starving. As we lose the ice in the Arctic, polar bears will starve.”

— Cristina Mittermeier

With the average global temperatures increasing at a dramatic rate – 0.71°C in 2010, and up to 0.99°C by 2016 – the continual rising of global temperatures is only destined to melt more ice caps and cause further damage to habitats for endangered species such as polar bears.

The striking rise is more concerning when average global temperatures were at -0.11°C in 1976, meaning in just 40 years this has increased over 1°C.  

Predictions for polar bears existence has therefore been projected for the animal to reduce over 30% by 2050; whether the video of the bear suffering is therefore as a result of climate change, ill-health or old age, it has at least got people talking about the dangers climate change threatens wildlife and the earth’s ice caps.


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