A lone bear sits amidst mounds of trash in a landfill. Behind him, smoke bellows out of a pit being consumed by flames. The photograph is heart-wrenching, to say the least. But the story behind it is even more shocking.
This is the most heartbreaking image I've ever made. I teared up when shooting it, again when editing it, and on several occasions just thinking about it. I've waited nearly a month to post it as I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I do know i'll never forget this moment, and what happened to that bear afterwards, which I was too stunned to photograph.
When photographer Troy Moth spotted this scene, he immediately snapped an image. Later, when editing and recollecting on the experience, he couldn’t help but feel sad, as well as bitter, by what he captured.
Moth wrote on Bored Panda: “When I arrived at the landfill the smokey pit was on fire with flames coming up taller than the bear. I was speechless, in complete shock of what I was seeing. When I finished making the photograph, the bear turned slowly and walked down into the smokey pit, disappearing from my sight. He never came back up during the rest of my time there.”
Moth added, “It took me a very long time to process this photograph after, and I’m still not sure how I feel about. All I know is that it’s the only photograph I’ve ever made that has made me tear up on multiple occasions. And I’m sure still has more to teach me.”
The poignant image inspires a range of emotions. Presently, humans throw away enough trash each year to circle the globe four times. And of that which is discarded, 80 percent makes its way to the oceans. There, it slowly breaks down, poisoning the environment and oftentimes, killing wildlife that mistakes the debris for food.
Clearly, the time to adopt sustainable change is now. Climate change is altering this planet and the environment cannot afford more carbon emissions being pumped into the atmosphere. Humans are responsible for environmental degradation, and only through conscious actions may present woes be reversed.
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Source: Bored Panda