*Across the sea at which it stares
Brings fading hope for polar bears
Ice habitat that once was theirs
Is now destroyed by all our wares
Ice home where polar bears roamed free
Melt quickly now into the sea
Despite their size and majesty
Their home now they are forced to flee
Once great white kings of white empire
Move now they must, despite desire
The dangers real, the dangers dire
To stay means that they’ll soon expire
What have we done to these poor souls
Filled air with gas and ozone holes
Exploited earth without controls
In our pursuit of selfish goals
The polar bear’s last legacy
Will rise up from the future sea
To swallow shores that we must flee
Our own homes now… floating debris*
This mixed media artwork was inspired by a documentary on the PBS ‘Nature’ series about how polar bears and grizzly bears may soon be headed for a showdown over habitat. As global warming continues, grizzly bears are migrating northward trying remain in the climate they are accustomed to. At the same time, polar bears are being forced to make forays inland, away from the arctic shoreline, in an effort to supplement the food sources they normally rely on. Polar bears normally depend on sea-ice to hunt for their primary diet of seals.
The sea ice is freezing later and thawing sooner each year at an alarming rate. If polar bears are unable to adjust and adapt to foraging on land for their food, they may very well be extinct within two or three generations.
It has already been determined with scientific certainty, that it will take over a thousand years to reverse the damage we have done to the atmosphere with our man-made greenhouse gases from our industrial pursuits… and that is only if we stopped producing all these gases today. The arctic ice sheet will be non-existent in as little as ten years, and it WILL be non-existent, as that damage is irreversible at this point no matter what efforts we take today to curtail it. It is already too late to save the polar bears natural habitat.
This artwork serves as a reminder to us all of the destruction we have caused, and continue to cause, to the other inhabitants of our planet that have just as much a right to life here as we do… if not more. Each time you make an unnecessary trip in your car, or leave a light on in a room where you are not, may ultimately be the difference between another species either surviving or becoming extinct. Remember the ‘butterfly effect’ in every action you take during every moment you take it!
Anyway… I apologize if this seems like a rant, but it really makes me angry!! I have loved and respected the polar bear since I was very young. This beautiful animal, huge and powerful, and capable of enduring in the most extreme conditions on the planet… and now the only thing that my grandchildren may know of them is from an old picture of what we once had.
The last of the sea ice in the artwork is a fractal I created in Incendia. The ‘north pole’, background gradient, sun, and foreground sea were all created individually in Photoshop. The image of the polar bear mother and her cub are from a public domain image from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. I have included a link to this image below.
The artwork elements were then layered together in Photoshop. The original is 3600 × 6000 pixels at 300 pixels per inch. Because the original is so large and difficult to see over the internet, I have included a couple of detail cutaways below.