The video of the starving polar bear that has circulate the news this week is truly heartbreaking. Bears are animals of power associated with winter and the polar bear is one that defies the winter season that kills so many other animals.
Of course we know that polar bears depend on the snow and ice to live. They depend on the seals and their mobility across the frozen seas gives them access to food, so the warming climate is disastrous for them.
Of particular interest is the public reaction to the video. Yes, other climate impacts trigger in the media and have some reaction but this is a particularly strong reaction. People seem to care more about a polar bear than the 300,000 people who already die each year as a result of climate change but we should welcome any awakening of understanding that we get.
We are ploughing headlong into uncharted territory with climate change. Our CO2 emissions continue unabated despite some progress on renewable energy and green transport. Temperatures continue to break records and the impacts such as the starving polar bear, and also this week the wildfires in California, continue to hurt us.
The bear can help us though. It is an animal of power, its spirit is invoked by some of us at winter time and seeing it hurt during its season is difficult to accept. So let us focus on the spirit of the bear, be it the polar bear searching in vain for food or the Great Bear of the starry night or the grizzly bear that continues to be hunted as a trophy. Let us use the spirit of the bear in our fight for nature and against the stupidity of mankind that has brought climate change to our doorsteps. As we celebrate Alban Arthan, the winter solstice, let us invoke the spirit of the bear in our prayers that human actions will do less and less harm to our world.