Why the Polar Bear Is an Indisputable Image of Climate Change


Michele Moses writes about the response to an image of a starving polar bear in Norilsk, Siberia, and what it says about our moral reckoning with climate change and other forms of environmental damage.

The presence of an animal that we are accustomed to seeing in pristine natural beauty makes the whole setting seem even bleaker and more corrosive. Yet to see a line of cars stop to observe a creature whose habitat their emissions are destroying is like an instance of restorative justice—the culprit and victim encounter each other face to face. It provides a rare opportunity for us to confront the far-reaching moral consequences of our seemingly benign actions, like driving. 


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