The Polar Bear's Dinner
I'm a polar bear. Where do I live? On an iceberg of course, not that far from the North Pole. We never go too near the North Pole though; it's much too cold up there. We prefer to live in places like Greenland.
So, I'm sitting on my favorite iceberg, a great place for sitting around, hanging out, chatting to a few friends every now and then, catching fish and whatever else I can find. And I notice something strange. My favorite iceberg is getting smaller. Well, either my iceberg is getting smaller, or perhaps I'm getting bigger. If I'm getting bigger it means I'm getting fat. But I can't be getting fat, because I've also noticed that recently I haven't been eating very much at all; there are far fewer fish around now than there were a few years ago.
Let me tell you a few things about polar bears. We only live at the North Pole, not the South one. And I've never met a penguin. Because penguins only live in the South Pole. It's a long way from one pole to the other, so we rarely meet. There was a cousin of mine though, who ended up in a zoo, and they put him in the enclosure next to the penguins. He said the penguins were pretty noisy.
Let me tell you something else about polar bears: we get cold. I bet you thought we'd have layers of fur and fat to keep us warm from the arctic cold. Well, we do, but it's never quite enough. We still get cold. I do anyway, and so do most of the other polar bears I talk to (and, believe me, I talk to a lot of polar bears.)
So, where was I? Sorry, yes, I was telling you that I was sitting on my iceberg, noticing that the iceberg was getting smaller and the fish were getting fewer, when this walrus arrives. I hate walruses. They're awful. Loud and smelly and stupid. Always bothering us. I tried to catch him, but he was too quick for me. He just splashed around in the water making that terrible noise and shouting at me.
Hey stupid! He shouted. "Yes you! Big stupid polar bear! What's the matter? Can't you catch me? Of course you can't! You know why? Because your iceberg's disappearing! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
I know that, ugly. I shouted to him. "If you can tell me why it's happening then perhaps I won't have you for my dinner!"
You're as stupid as all polar bears! replied this extremely cheeky walrus. "Global warming! Never heard of it, have you? Bye now!" And then the walrus dived back under the water and splashed away. I did have to admit that I had never heard of global warming, so when a few of the other bears were around, I asked them if they'd heard anything about it.
Oh yeah, they said. "It means the sea is getting warmer, so the ice is melting."
What's causing it? I asked.
Humans, of course, they replied. "It's always humans. That's why there aren't as many fish now as well. The humans are eating them all."
This really was bad news. No iceberg; no fish. No dinner for me.
The problem is, continued my friend, "there's very little we can do about it. I mean, how can we stop the humans?"
Look, I said, "If there are no fish, then that's bad news for the walruses too, isn't it? They eat fish too."
So, the next day, I'm sitting there on my favorite iceberg again, and along comes the same cheeky walrus.
Caught anything yet? Ha! Ha! Ha!
Listen ugly, I replied to him. "You're right about global warming, but what you haven't realized is that the humans who are causing global warming are also eating all our fish. The only way we can stop them is we work together ... polar bears and walruses and everyone else who lives here "
Work with you! No way! shouted the walrus, and off he went.
So, I'm sitting here on my iceberg, and my iceberg's getting smaller everyday, and I'm getting hungrier every day. Some other polar bears, I hear, the ones who live closer to places where there are more humans are going to the humans' rubbish bins and eating everything they can find there. That's one solution, I guess, but I'd rather have some nice fresh fish - or big juicy piece of walrus - than humans' rubbish. I'd really like there to be a happy end to this story I'm telling you, but at the moment there isn't. What am I going to have for my dinner?