In August 2015, Arctic nature photographer Kerstin Langenberger took a photo of an emaciated polar bear, and posted it on Facebook. The photo earned her quite a bit of hate mail, but it also inspired Kerstin and many others to become more involved in climate action.
She recently gave a TED talk about her photograph, her work as a arctic nature guide and photographer, and how climate change is affecting the Arctic, including habitat and food for polar bears.
This year, the Arctic sea ice is at record low levels, and we may be on track to surpass the previous low summer sea ice record (measured in September) set in 2012. It is this lack of sea ice that hurts the polar bears the most; when the bears are unable to hunt for seals from the sea ice, they don’t get enough food, and starve, as Kerstin’s photograph so vividly shows. While no one polar bear death can be attributed to climate change, it is clear that climate change and continued hunting of the bears (despite their endangered status) will make it more and more difficult for them to survive.
Arctic sea ice extent for May: