A Palace and a Polar Bear

A few years ago, I traveled around Europe and was lucky enough to spend some time in Denmark. The city of Copenhagen left a remarkable impression on me. The beautiful architecture, array of fascinating museums and endless number of cool bars and restaurants were certainly a big part of the allure.

But there was something about the culture that felt more significant than just that. Something that went beyond the artificial level, deeper within the way of life.

I think it hit me properly when we jumped off our bikes and stopped at Amalienborg Palace, the home of the Danish royal family right in the city centre. Expecting just another tourist site, I was met with something different.

Impaled on an oil pipeline is a polar bear. Right in front of the Palace. A shocking yet curious display. Upon further inspection, it’s clear that this sculpture is making a deep, political statement.

Starting at year 0, the sculpture depicts a graph of the cumulative global fossil fuel carbon emissions, rapidly rising around the year 1850 and reaching a sharp peak right through the gut of a life-size polar bear.

Confronting, visceral and powerful. A little research revealed this was the work of artist Jens Galschiot, funded by WWF and a kickstarter campaign. Polar bears are among the most threatened species facing the climate crisis and this sculpture is a symbol of our responsibility.

It’s in these moments that I realised we could be doing a whole lot better. And that’s what The Impact is all about, it exists as proof to showcase that we can make a difference and get back to a symbiotic relationship with the planet.

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