30 September 2012

Compassion Tune-Up - A Devastating Sight

When I hear my husband sobbing in his office, I know he's stumbled upon something searingly sad. Yesterday, it was a photo of something we could never have imagined. 

Turns out it was one in a series of July 2011 photos by Jenny E. Ross, taken in Ostrova Oranskie in northern Novaya Zemlya, in the Russian High Arctic. 

An online friend of Peter's, Veli Albert Kallio, shared on Facebook the following:
Desperate and hungry polar bears are seen attempting to climb mountains to reach for food as their natural habitat has been destroyed. Bears have an excellenct nose and they sense the bird eggs but as they are not adapted to mountaineering on the steep slopes, they fall off the mountains easily to their deaths. Their claws are not strong enough to grab them firmly onto mountainsides as the nails brake under the weight of bears on the rocks. Arctic foxes and other animals then eat unfortunate polar bear carcasses. The numbers of bears are considerably down already for next cruising season and it may take some nerves to see the polar bears suffering like this.
Polar bears in our Arctic must now climb rocky mountains to attempt to feed on the eggs of seabirds (Brünnich's Guillemots)? According to the photographer, "This bear was marooned on land, unable to feed on seals  his normal prey  because the sea ice had melted throughout the region and receded far to the north as the result of climate change." 

What hell on Earth have we wrought? 

Note the subadult male polar bear near the top 
Not built for climbing
An unsuccessful attempt to eat

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?