Every team needs a mascot and the global warming gang is no exception to the rule. While politicians battle it out to change legislation on the proper stewardship of planet earth, many “green” advocates have rallied behind a furry white bear in hope to change people’s hearts.
I recently watched a documentary on what I thought was going to be the beauty of our planet, but which turned out to be a story of how polar bears are heading to an early death due to my negligence. The camera slowly zoomed in on a giant bear swimming in arctic waters while a narration informed me that he had been there for days in search of firm ground. All of this was my fault, the voice wished to tell me, because I was not doing my part to stop global warming. Call me a cynic, but I have to wonder if that poor polar bear was really swimming for his life, or if he had just dived in for a mid-afternoon dip. All I know is that he was swimming in the water; I can’t guess what his motives were.
Sure the earth is warming up a bit. The UN meetings in Copenhagen were important in unifying efforts to tone down greenhouse gases, share technology, and help towards financing the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Even Pope Benedict XVI realizes the importance of this issue as can be seen in his own words. "Care of water resources and attention to climate change are matters of grave importance for the entire human family. Encouraged by the growing recognition of the need to preserve the environment, I invite all of you to join me in praying and working for greater respect for the wonders of God’s creation!" It’s important to underline the reasons to Pope Benedict’s call for climate awareness. He stresses respect for the wonders of God’s creation and the issues concerning humanity. In short he gives attention to the truths behind global warming and what needs to be improved, while ignoring the muddle of politics that surround this issue.
But, we have left a bear in the water that is waiting for this story to end. Eventually he did make it to land and began to search for food. Luckily he found a herd of walruses that were lying out under the sun, minding their own business. Our furry friend started to nibble on the back of a few of them in search for a pup or any morsel he could sink his teeth into, while that god-like voice told us how tired he was after such a long swim, and that try as he might, it would be impossible for him to make a kill. The scene ends with the poor polar bear lying down in wait of death as the sun sets and melancholic music is played. “If only we humans would be more respectful. None of this would ever happen” was the message received.
My heart goes out to all the polar bears living in distant lands, however I would hate to be inconsiderate of God’s other arctic creatures. No words were given to explain the barbaric attack of the polar bear on those poor whiskered walruses. If people focused on defending walruses, we might condemn the polar bears actions, send out a hunting team, and destroy those cold blooded killers. As it stands, polar bears are cuter than walruses, and therefore merit our full attention. The biased documentary failed to mention how happy the seals have been lately due to the warmer water and the gleeful whales who are finding much more krill now that larger chunks of ice are thawing. All we hear about is the polar bear who doesn’t stand a chance against Mother Nature and the humans that are trying to kill them. As a side note, why didn't those global warming advocates shooting the film intercede for the poor bear if he were in such dire need? But enought about the bears, we should be more focused about people.
Global warming exists and needs to be dealt with. Not for the sake of the polar bears, but for humanity.
Thomas A. Flynn, LC studies for the priesthood in Rome. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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