Does the death of a single polar bear, which starved on the Arctic tundra, carry a warning for all human beings? Some leading scientists are afraid that it does. They are even more worried that the human beings do not get the message. The dead polar bear was little more than a sad rug of skin and bones when it was found lying on the earth at Svalbard far into the northern Arctic. According to leading researcher Dr. Ian Sterling of Polar Bears International, the animal was a victim of the melting Arctic ice: It did not have the sea ice from which to hunt seals, so it had to wander far and wide in a vain search for food.

The bear's plight should be a worry and a warning that precious life on Earth is being threatened by thoughtlessness and greed of powerful politicians and commercial interests. It is only going to get worse. The Arctic melt is happening so fast that some respected scientists warn that as early as 2015 the ocean will be ice-free in the summer. The devastating consequences will include uncomfortably rising temperatures, disruption to crop patterns and high seas that could threaten Guangzhou, London, Mumbai, New York, Osaka, Shanghai and Sydney, not to mention low-lying Pacific island states and much of Bangladesh.

One important scientific report that attempts to measure the damage to the Earth will come in late September from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Nobel prize-winning United Nations panel of experts. Leaked reports of an unfinished work that will be further modified by argument say that the panel will report that it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels, are the main cause of global warming.