If humans do not reduce their carbon footprint, these majestic animals may disappear - just like the snow.
Despite the alarming amount of evidence proving climate change to be a real concern, millions of people around the globe still refute its existence. If this is the case, perhaps a compilation of 33 photos captured by Patty Waymire might change the minds of those who think global warming is a “hoax”.
When Waymire recently headed to Barter Island in Alaska, she was expecting the opportunity to take photographs of frolicking polar bears in fluffy snow. Instead, she marveled at the lack of frozen moisture in the Arctic. Typically, Barter Island is covered in snow and ice; a few months ago, however, it was warm and dry, and the water’s edge met sandy beaches.
To document the effects mankind’s unsustainable habits are having on the environment, the activist took photos anyway.
“One of Waymire’s images—aptly entitled “No Snow, No Ice” (above)—shows a lone polar bear perched at the edge of a brown, sandy shoal which should have been white with snow at that time of the year. That startling photograph won an honorable mention in the 2016 National Geographic Photographer of the Year contest in the Environmental Issues category.”
Barter Island once served as a major trading hub and was the site of a large whaling village before 1900. Only in the last few years, however, have the effects of climate change drastically impacted the Alaskan environment. In conversation with locals, Waymire learned that polar bears used to roam the island’s ice shores, hunting prey, nurturing young, and existing in their natural habitat. In the last year, especially, the unusually warm weather has resulted in polar bears living in less-than-ideal conditions.
On her website, the artist shares 33 images of the Barter Island polar bears, which can be found here. The photographs are from October, a period in which the polar bears should be enjoying the spoils of winter. Instead, they look about as lost and misplaced as the majority of Americans who recently learned that Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed climate change denier, will be the next President of the United States.
For now, the polar bears are surviving. However, if humans do not curb their collective carbon footprint, these majestic animals may disappear – just like the snow.
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