This is Svalbard, the melting Norwegian island near the North Pole where sea ice vanishes and glaciers shrink

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Svalbard near the North Pole is at the sharp end of climate change.

Nowhere on Earth is heating up as fast. According to a 2019 report by the Bergen-based Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Svalbard has experienced a rise in the average winter temperature of +7.3 degrees Celsius (+13.1 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last 50 years.

While Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago, has a population of a little over 2,500, tourists visit the island for its beautiful landscape of mountains, fjords and glaciers, as well as to catch sight of polar bears, reindeer and marine life. All this is under threat from rising temperatures.

This drone footage was captured by Krzysztof Flasza, a 35-year-old video editor from Warsaw. "I went to Svalbard to see the Midnight Sun [when the Sun remains above the horizon, resulting in 24 hours of daylight] and admire the beauty of one of the last wild places on Earth," he said.

"I visited Svalbard in spring 2019. I went with my friend who visited two years before. He said that, in his opinion, the landscape had changed, the glaciers look different. The most horrible thing is the polar bears situation. When you come to Longyerbyen you are advised to borrow a rifle to protect yourself in case of a close encounter with a polar bear. But it is highly unlikely you will see one just because the bears are a dying species. Even when you go to the abandoned town of Pyramiden, which is even further north from Longyerbyen town, you probably won't see one, even though it's more wild."

According to a report written by Norway expert David Nikel and published in Forbes earlier this year, avalanches and evacuations due to avalanche warnings have become more common and the fjord next to the small coal mining town of Longyearbyen no longer freezes in winter. Hundreds of homes have also required relocation due to changes in the permafrost, Nikel wrote.

"I do think it's our fault," filmer Flasza said. "We human beings think that when we have money, we can consume, buy more and more things, which we don't need. We always need a new phone, new drone, new car, everything new. I haven't changed my phone for four years now. I try to have less and less things and the things I don't need I just sell or give to other people."

Reports from earlier this year said Disneynature, a France-based film studio that produces nature documentary films for Walt Disney Studios, was to make a climate change film in Svalbard.

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