Ever since I was a child, I have always loved wildlife shows. I could sit and watch Animal Planet for hours (I still can and sometimes do). I have always enjoyed learning about and watching the animals with their grace and agility. Sometimes I would get upset during the hunting scenes, especially those that showed the catch and the eating in all its gory detail—especially when the soundtrack featured the squeals of distress from the captured.
I understood the idea of circle of life; I just always found myself conflicted. I knew the hunters needed to eat to survive, but I also wanted the prey to survive too. Both, of course, are impossible at the same time, so I calmed myself with the knowledge that one died so the other could live. Nowadays, though, when I watch a certain type of wildlife show, my agitation cannot be soothed.
In the shows I speak of, the conflict is not the hunter versus the hunted; it’s the hunter versus climate change and its causes (including man’s influence). The hunters are dying, but their deaths are serving no other purpose; no other animals are thriving because they have lost their lives. The hunters are dying for reasons that have nothing to do with the natural hunter/prey cycle of life; they are dying because of climate change.
Tonight I watched one of these shows. I came away from it distraught as I often do when I watch shows that powerfully demonstrate global warming’s impact on animals across the planet. In particular, the dwindling numbers of polar bears due to ice cap melting upsets me deeply. I am worried that if we don’t stop this process we have started—or at the very least are accelerating rapidly—the polar bear will become extinct in the wild in my lifetime.
The thought makes me weep and makes me wonder if we can do anything to reverse this trend—or if it’s already too late.
To read a review of To the Arctic, another film I watched on a similar topic a few months ago, check out my article in Earth Common Journal.