As the video above shows, few things could be cuter than a polar bear doing a headstand.
But sadly, natural pleasures like polar bear antics are in jeopardy of disappearing forever. This clip is a teaser for the nature documentary "To The Arctic," the debut film from the One World One Ocean campaign, and the first IMAX 3D film from the award-winning producer Greg Macgillivray and his director son Shaun.
"To The Arctic" follows a mother polar bear and her two seven month-old cubs for five consecutive days. Narrated by Meryl Streep and featuring music from Paul McCartney, the film documents the trials and tribulations of polar bear survival in a climate impacted by global warming.
“It’s really a story about hope and survival, and the fact that we all who watch this can make a difference to the polar bear family and their life,” director Shaun Macgillivray said in an interview with Jake Hamilton.
The film aims to bring awareness to the plight of climate change in the Arctic. “Because it’s not apparent to everyone as a whole, we are neglecting it,” producer Greg Macgillivray said in a Movietapes interview. “The greatest success is going to be to get the people ... to appreciate the ocean in a new way. To understand it, and to protect it.”
"To The Arctic" is indeed an eye opening look into how the Arctic needs our protection. Climate change has had a devastating impact on the polar bear community. Not only is it the greatest threat polar bears face, but it has brought with it a decline in habitat, population, and food.
According to Polar Bears International, the Arctic could see a "mostly ice-free" summer by the year 2040. That means the bears, which are marine mammals, will be forced to live on land, or swim until they face exhaustion and death.
Since they are already listed as a "vulnerable" species on the IUCN Red List, polar bear depletion is not just a future problem. Within 50 years, two thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear, said the U.S. Geological Survey in 2007.
In fact, decline in polar bear populations is already evident. In the Western Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear population has already decreased by 22 percent since the early 1980s. This "correlate[s] directly" with "shorter hunting seasons" as a results of warmer weather and less ice, explains Polar Bears International. According to the National Wildlife Fund, the Hudson Bay’s ice-free period has increased by an average of 20 days in just the past 20 years, meaning hunting season for polar bears has shortened by three weeks.
But all hope is not yet lost. Polar Bears International says that change is still possible with a severe reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Although it would take "30 to 40 years for changes reversing the warming trend to show," the appeal to save the polar bears is not an empty plea.
"To The Arctic" opens in theaters on Friday, April 20th. Check out a sneak peek of the film here, or watch a Coca-Cola commercial featuring clips from the movie below: