Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Ice is Getting Thinner

Last night, I had the opportunity to see an eye-opening documentary called Chasing Ice. Several local organizations sent our e-blasts about free tickets sponsored by the Kendeda Fund (part of the Tides Foundation), so I thought I'd check it out. I'm glad I did.

Photo Credit:
The film follows a team of scientists-slash-photographers from the Extreme Ice Survey as they plan and implement the huge undertaking of documenting the melting of the world's icebergs, to demonstrate the immediacy and importance of climate change. The EIS team designs pods to be placed at remote locations to capture time-lapse imagery of the ice melting over several years; the first half of the film captures the installation, maintenance, reasoning, and human interest of this immense task.

While the first half of the film takes viewers to remote and beautiful locations, it is the second half of the film that shows how those locations are quickly changing. In breathtaking time-lapse detail as well as video from excursions, we see just how rapidly huge icebergs are melting and disappearing. Huge sheets of ice, the size of five football fields, calve off and sink into the ocean. Environmental contaminants, brought to the ice caps in the air, burn holes in the ice and melt it away. Huge rivers form where ice once ruled.

This is happening right now. While most of us realize that science is agreed that climate change is real, those needing visual "proof" can find it in the images from this film. It is at once breathtaking, beautiful, and absolutely frightening. The main scientist in the film, Jim Blalog, says that in 30 years, when his daughters ask him what he was doing when climate change was rapidly altering the face of the earth, he wants to be able to say he was doing everything he knew how to do.

I hope more of us strive to be able to say the same thing. I know I aspire to do just that.

To learn more and find a location where the film is playing, visit

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