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Request[AMA Request] Any Football(Soccer) Commentator

Dec 18th 2017 by arnold_117 • 20 Questions • 150 Points

EDIT: This has been a very valuable experience. Thanks so much for your intelligent and thoughtful questions. Be sure to visit us on the website link below to SeaLegacy. You can download our Impact Report and learn more about what we do. Happy and safe holidays to everyone!

We are Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, two biologists, photographers, and co-founders of the conservation group SeaLegacy.org. Our work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine and we’re focusing a lot these days to work on protecting the oceans. Recently, National Geographic published our footage of a starving polar bear that caught the world’s attention. We’re here to answer any and all your questions about the bear and the deeply concerning situation regarding climate change.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/yq4w9yvavw401.jpg https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/943501579428225025

Q:

2. How do you prepare for a match?

Here's an interesting look at Nick Barnes' preparations for calling Sunderland matches.

A:

How hard was it seeing some of the extremely hard comments on instagram/Facebook that accused you guys of being killers and just standing there? We all know nothing could be done, but seeing all of that when you’re just doing your job must have been tough.


Q:

Thanks for that !

A:

Thank you. It was difficult to read those comments. Just the way war photographers who take a beating for not rescuing a starving child or for not getting in the middle of a battle, we were being accused of not saving the bear. After the trash can, the bear swam out of sight. We were left there standing numb and saddened. We vowed to share this footage with the world to spark a global debate so it was worth all of the hurtful comments. PN


Q:

How do you know that it was starving due to lack of food, and not due to something like illness?

A:

Thanks,

We don't and that was stated in the original caption. All we are saying is that if credible scientists are saying that 30% of polar bears are going to disappear by 2050 and they could be extinct in a 100 to 150 years then this is what a starving bear looks like. It is gut-wrenching to watch. These are not just data points falling off a piece of paper. These are great Arctic nomads dying a slow and painful death. PN


Q:

How hard was it to watch that happening live? The video is bad enough...

A:

Good morning! Standing there in complete shock as this poor animal struggled to even get up, was one of the hardest things I have ever witnessed. As an animal lover, watching this kind of suffering was unbearable....no pun intended - PNN


Q:

Much of the criticism was aimed at the assertion or implication in the NatGeo article you linked that a lack of ice was the cause of the starvation.

Numerous scientists and journalists have come out since then refuting that claim.

I understand that you guys aren't responsible for writing the actual article, but what amount of input do photographers generally get in the editing process?

Were you sent out to find photos of starving bears? Or was the story and accompanying narrative developed around the photos? How do you deal with the possibility that your photos could be misinterpreted or misconstrued by editors?

A:

You know what has been one of the most shocking aspects of sharing this story? How people not read captions and how media outlets sensationalize and embellish. I was utterly surprised to find media sources that put words in my mouth, twisted what I said, put stuff out of context, etc. CM


Q:

Well its certainly refreshing to hear that it wasn't you guys messing up.

Kudos on you all for speaking up about this, you should not be wearing any of this.

A:

I also think that certain outlets took the opportunity to generate controversy. I was shocked by the lack of professionalism and accuracy of the CBC, the National Post and the Toronto Star. CM


Q:

I have a question for people who saw this and thought it was out of the ordinary: How exactly do you think the average polar bear life ends? Curled up peacefully in a nursing home? Revenge murder by a pack of seals?

A:

Great question although this bear did not have any breeding scars on his face. I suspect he was a very large male but probably less than 10 to 12 years old. PN


Q:

Have you read the commentary from the local Inuit bear watchers? They have a very different narrative than the articles I have read.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.4442887/viral-video-of-emaciated-polar-bear-may-not-be-what-it-seems-nunavut-bear-monitor-says-1.4442892

A:

I have read it. You can read my comments about it in a previous response. CM


Q:

I read reports that you guys were standing there crying while filming the scene. Is that accurate?

I have also seen supposed experts discuss the video saying that the bear is likely not starving exclusively because of climate change's effect on the bear's hunting environment, but that it is likely also sick with something that is causing it to be unable to hunt and get around as it should, likely some sort of bear cancer. Does that seem likely?

A:

Good questions. Yes, the team was overcome with emotion. It is not like the team was standing there balling but we had to work through our emotions and yes there were a lot of sniffles. We never said that it was because of climate change. If you go to the original post we say that we cannot conclude that climate change is the cause but we want people to know what a starving bear looks like. Is this a glimpse into the future? PN


Q:

Thanks for your reply. I haven't been able to bring myself to look at the footage myself, because I get too worked up just from the thumbnails and conversation around it. I'm sorry if I implied that you reported something inaccurately, that wasn't my intention, I was just trying to clarify some of the third-party conversation and speculation that I've heard regarding the footage.

A:

No worries at all. We are used to that question now and welcome the opportunity to clarify. - PN


Q:

If you don't mind my asking, do you always manage to stay emotionally detached during the filming process, especially when it involves something so clearly heart wrenching? If no, what do you do to deal with it?

I just wanted to thank you guys, and so many like you, who work in such harsh conditions to make knowledge about the state of the natural world so much more accessible to the layman. It's a good thing this footage has been the subject of debate, because it'll bring about more public interest. Thanks!

A:

The problem was that we are incredibly attached. I am a crier when it comes to nature and this was one of the hardest things I have watched. But, we have to capture the moment to share with the world. Thank you for all you do. - PN


Q:

How do we get Canada to change their legislation on being able to feed polar bears? Obviously there is a risk but we also have a duty to help them considering that we're destroying their habitats.

A:

We are trying to change legislation so their habitat is protected so they can find their own food. If we are at the point of feeding polar bears then most of the Arctic ecosystem will be collapsing. Most species in the Arctic require ice. From copepods (lifecycle is tied to ice) to bowhead whales (which feed on copepods) all involve sea ice. If we lose ice, we stand to lose an entire ecosystem. PN


Q:

What are your sources? The OP has proof she is who she says she is, but who are you and how do you know about the place where the Polar Bear died?

A:
  1. We didn't see the polar bear again after he swam away. He looked more at ease in the water.
  2. Thank you. We need more people to realize the facts. We were clear from the very beginning, when this story first came out, that we don't know why this particular bear was starving. It is, for us, a very strong foreshadowing of what is to come for future generations of polar bears if we don't reverse the effects of climate change. - PN

Q:

Hi, could you share how you plan your photography work based on your conservation efforts? Wondering what factors go into what you decide to cover and when. Thanks for your work.

A:

Hi, we always rely on the advice of scientists and conservation experts who work on issues at a more local level. It is very important to have local players that will continue pushing for policies after we finish documenting. We work in places and issues where there is a strong policy process or a campaign underway, so that we can inject the kind of momentum that helps tip the scales. We also prefer to work in places where our added value is urgently needed and/or where no one else is working. CM


Q:

Hey I'm glad you give us an opportunity to interact with you!

I'm trying to reflect on what makes people react in different cultures.

To your knowledge, what subjects engage western people most?

I'm not going to beat around the bush: it's obvious a lot of people feel more empathy towards a dog being beaten to death or maybe a polar bear starving than watching millions of people suffering, even if the causes are similar (war, unsustainable consumption etc)

In your experience, are polar bears the best way to make people talk about environmental change/damage in the west? You're in a much better position to know!

A:

Hi. I actually find that it is easier to create an emotional connection with the stories of people. In general, however, building empathy requires that we put ourselves "in the shoes" of another being and we tend to care about the fate of fellow humans because we understand suffering on the same human scale. Charismatic wildlife, like polar bears, generally get a better reaction than insects or non-fuzzy critters. Our job is to create that type of empathy for entire ecosystems that support not just wildlife, but the welfare of humans as well. Tough job! Thanks for your questions. CM


Q:

What are some other species we should be paying closer attention to as far as our impact on their habitats?

A:

The polar regions are being affected greatly, and penguins in Antarctica have experienced a couple of mass mortality events. Coral reefs are also under great stress and last year we lost 30% of all reefs. Plastic and pollutants in our oceans are having a very serious impact on whales and other marine mammals and then there is the trade of ivory. Not only elephants and rhinos being greatly impacted, other ivory-bearing wildlife, like narwhals are also being killed for their tusks in the Arctic. The list goes on and on. One that we can have an immediate and positive impact on is wild fish. Tuna, wild salmon, and sharks should be at the top of our list of concerns. CM


Q:

How do we defeat people like the evil koch brothers from ruining our planet? I’m very worried

A:

I recently read about something called the "Overtron window". In short, that is the window of political discourse that the public is willing to accept. It appears that in the past couple of decades, certain individuals and organizations, like the ones you mention, who clearly have special interests, have invested millions of dollars to move that window to the extreme right. We are now in a public discourse place where it is ok for the US government to dismantle monuments, overthrow protections, etc. Our job, as communicators and as an educated public is to move that window to the center again. We do that by debating, discussing and being rational. The more we talk about the kind of policies that we find acceptable, the better. CM


Q:

Oh perfect! Thanks very much.

A:

Thanks for correcting....Overtron it is! CM


Q:

Hey guys.. thanks for bringing this powerful footage to light to showcase the issues climate change is having on the north.

My question is a little different, but I was just curious as to what kind of camera gear you used to capture this footage? Thanks.

A:

The video was shot on a RED 8K. The stills were shot on a Sony A-9. Long lenses were the Canon 600mm. PN


Q:

Cristina, as you responded to media on the controversy surrounding the footage you suggested Inuit were denying climate change and are doing so to protect their sport hunts of the polar bear. Can you provide more insight ? Are Inuit really making a lot of money?

A:

Thanks for this question; What people don't know is that as a mix-raced Mexican, with indigenous heritage, and as someone who has worked my entire life to protect and promote the rights of indigenous people, that accusation is truly hurtful. The accusation was made after I pointed out that 600 bears are killed every year for subsistence and for trophy. I think their response was made to protect their right to hunt, which, trust me, I don't question. Let's ask ourselves this question: If polar bears were indeed being affected by climate change, would that change the number of bears that are allowed to be hunted? Would the government allow fewer hunting tags? I don't know but I think that is where I stepped on some toes. In my mind, the Inuit are as much victims of climate change as the bears and they deserve a right to hunt and support themselves. Denying that climate change is having an effect on polar bears, however, when 99% of scientists are telling us the entire ecosystem is being affected, is something we cannot ignore. I hope the Inuit will forgive my comment and accept my apology. My intention was never to hurt their livelihoods. I am absolutely not against subsistence hunting and I am certainly not an enemy of the Inuit but I am 100% for conserving an intact Arctic and for polar bears. CM


Q:

What were your thoughts when you left the area where the polar bear was struggling? I personally would have felt dreadful, like i could have done something, despite there really being nothing I could do. I understand you couldn't legally help the poor thing, but being that close, experiencing its struggle, then leaving it must have been hard.

And thank you for doing this. It's truly an eye-opening bit of footage.

A:

It did feel dreadful....watching him swim away and knowing he was suffering was one of the worst experiences of our lives. Watching the effects of climate change on Arctic wildlife is like watching a tsunami in slow motion. It is difficult to elicit an emotional connection to a data point on a graph. What we wanted was for this bear's suffering not to be in vain. We don't know why he was starving but we do know that as the Arctic continues to warm (twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth) many more bears, and other Arctic wildlife that depends on sea ice, like walrus and seals, will also suffer. That is what we are trying to prevent. CM