By Diamond Victoria
Many politicians dispute the validity of anthropogenic, or man-made, climate change. One man grew tired of hearing arguments against science and set out with his camera to prove to the world the reality of climate change and its haunting effect on the glaciers of our world.
“Chasing Ice,” directed by Jeff Orlowski, is a documentary following the plight of National Geographic photographer and environmentalist James Balog.
Balog realized early in his research that charts and graphs, as informative as they are, don’t speak to the general public. At least not as well as time-lapse images of melting glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska over two years.
The film follows Balog and his two assistants in these Arctic tundras. At first, it is unclear whether the members of the expedition, dubbed Extreme Ice Survey, will succeed in their goal of capturing nature at her angriest.
After some second-guessing, the team finally worked out the kinks in their camera systems, which they had been struggling to operate in the subzero conditions, and began to see results. The passion of the team members, especially Balog, is evident. Once you see the first images of several receding glaciers, it becomes clear that climate change is a serious problem.
Climate change has been a hot-button issue for decades. It’s normal for a planet like ours to experience a fluctuation in climate. The film explains the difference between natural and man-made climate change. The largest cause of climate change and global warming is rising greenhouse gas levels, according to climate.nasa.gov. A certain amount of greenhouse gases are necessary for Earth to be warm enough to support life.
The sun’s rays enter the atmosphere and greenhouse gases work like insulation, preventing some heat from escaping while the rest is reflected back into space. But when greenhouse gas levels are too high, too much heat is trapped, and the Earth’s balance is disturbed.
Humans create and release greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere when we do things such as burn fossil fuels or cut down and burn forests. Basically, we are creating too much carbon dioxide, and Earth is suffering. And that is precisely what the documentary is out to explain.
In the midst of his scientific endeavor, we find Balog in front of a laptop. Battered from his travels to the Arctic and just out of surgery for a weakened knee, he listens, frustrated, to interviews with reporters, politicians and self-proclaimed climate experts arguing that the science behind global warming is flawed.
“Chasing Ice” definitely nudges its audience to pay attention to the reality of our carbon dioxide-laden planet. Balog is determined to debunk the myth that science itself is a myth. It is a film with conviction and evidence.
After years of trudging through ice, snow and rain, Balog’s time-lapse video is ready to be shared with the world in hopes of sparking a broader conversation on how to begin healing the only home humans have ever known.