Photos & Text by Paul Nicklen
I was raised in the Canadian Arctic, so issues of climate change aren’t just science for me. I’m watching my home changing far faster than ever expected, with serious consequences to the people and the animals I grew up with. Loss of sea ice in the poles is like a garden losing its soil. The ice is the foundation for life in that environment, and not only on a microbiotic level. All life, including polar bears, penguins and walrus, is dependent on sea ice.
But people living in concrete jungles can’t relate to the devastation that depleting sea ice will cause in the polar habitats. At first I thought I could fight the global warming battle as a biologist. But 15 years ago I realized that a camera is the greatest tool imaginable to protect the places I’ve remained connected to since my youth.
My mission as a photojournalist is to bring the remote beauty of my world—the polar regions—to people who may never see it themselves, and make everyone care about these ecosystems while we still have a chance to protect them. My images are portraits of survival, showing all we stand to lose if we don’t act now.
Join us in Minneapolis April 5 as National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen leads off the Momentum 2012 event series with a photographic tribute to some of the world’s most vulnerable habitats and their inhabitants.
Diving under the Antarctic ice to get close to the much-feared leopard seal, photographer Paul Nicklen found an extraordinary new friend. Share his hilarious, passionate stories of the polar wonderlands, illustrated by glorious images of the animals who live on and under the ice. Watch the video on TED
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Last modified on January 23, 2012