Thursday, July 23, 2009

Feed The Polar Bears!

I got sucked into a nature show last night, and it haunted me as I tossed and turned, and it's mortifying to admit the affect PBS has on me, but the truth will set me free! I hope. None of this is new, or news to me, but I feel renewed to help.

There are a handful of animals and locations that could draw me into to sit in front of channel three for more than a nanosecond. The animal most likely to get me to sit and watch would be any kind of bear. I like bears brown, and white, and mean, and cuddly, and you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, bear-kabobs, bear creole, bear gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple bear, lemon bear, coconut bear, pepper bear, bear soup, bear stew, bear salad, bear and potatoes, bear burger, bear sandwich. Shit! Wrong diatribe!

In all seriousness, this special was about Grizzly Bears encountering Polar Bears, and how Polar Bears in this melting world of depleting ozone's and heartless former governor's of Alaska (you betcha!) are finding themselves misplaced and hungry. Ice caps are turning into muddy, grassy expanses with nothing but migrating Polar Bears and baby bears and the sound of my heart being viciously ripped apart as their bellies rumble. In this special I watched, Grizzlies are relatively unaffected by the changing weather, as they are following the patterns inbred into them. There are Polar Bears missing the fishing season where waters are filled with salmon, simply because they didn't know it was happening.

And so these Polar Bears pick through human garbage, trying to sustain their own lives whatever way possible. This one mama bear reached into a pile of burning garbage, where people lit their refuge in an effort to keep bears away, so that she could nourish herself enough to produce milk for her traveling companion: her baby. These bears are being shot at as they near civilization, the same world that ruins their life completely. Some are lucky enough to be trapped and kept in a holding prison until the cold season really takes over and they are put back into what's left of their habitat. I want to hug every person who made such a holding cell possible, and I want to hug the documentarian for not taping what the inside of these facilities look like, because I might have not slept at all last night.

I can't explain why I can see a mother bear struggling to feed its child, and I feel the same way I do as if that starving mother was a human. But my fitful sleep reminded me every thirty minutes or so that there are hungry moms and babies out there, and it doesn't matter to me who they are or what they look like or if they would maul my face for the fun of it if given the opportunity.

I ache to help.

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