Alaskan glaciers, icebergs in Antarctica,  the chilling Beaufort Sea – these polar wonderlands are the worldwide offices of Paul Nicklen, acclaimed wildlife photographer for National Geographic.  Spirit bears, leopard seals, polar bears, penguins – these are his co-workers.

In this Ted Talk, Nicklen gives us a personal, first-hand look at his work, filled with rare images of wildlife that lives on and below the ice, gripping (and sometimes hilarious) stories, and a whole lot of inspiration.  But it’s also about a truth about the incredible animals he photographs – they’re in trouble.  Sea ice is disappearing at an alarming rate, so fast that we stand the chance to lose entire ecosystems.  “Really what the ice does is it acts like a garden.  It acts like the soil in a garden,” says Nicklen.  It’s an inverted garden. Losing that ice is like losing the soil in a garden.”

If you watch only one more Ted Talk this year, make it this one.  If you have no idea what a Ted Talk is, make this your first.

If this video leaves you wanting to learn more about the incredible animals that call sea ice home, join us on one of Nat Hab’s ice-bound adventure cruises in Antarctica  or a polar bear excursion in Churchill, Canada.

Leopard seal by Paul Nicklen

A photo of Paul Nicklen’s encounter with a leopard seal. Photo © Paul Nicklen/National Geographic