Seeing is believing: The big thaw

September 24, 2012

Last week, I had a privilege of watching a powerful new climate change documentary, Chasing Ice, at a special screening on Capitol Hill. The film is full of staggeringly beautiful images of glaciers and sea ice, as one might expect given that its central character, National Geographic photographer James Balog, is well known for his striking images of nature and wildlife

Chasing Ice is also a great story, a tale of one man’s quest to illuminate the effects of climate change on our planet and ourselves. It opens with a montage of soundbites from climate deniers, and closes with dramatic, multi-year timelapse images of glaciers literally melting away in front of our eyes. The film tells the story of how Balog created, at great personal cost, the Extreme Ice Survey, a project that’s keeping an eye on melting glaciers around the globe. The resulting images provide some of the most compelling visual data yet that climate change is accelerating at a disturbing rate. That’s the powerful message of Chasing Ice, and the one that Resource Media was brought in to help amplify: climate change is happening now, and the window for action is narrowing

The urgency for climate action is echoed not only by this month’s news that Arctic sea ice is now at the lowest extent ever recorded. That’s bad news for people like the Inuit who depend on sea ice for hunting, as do wildlife species like polar bears, walrus and several species of seals.

But melting ice is also bad news for nearly everyone else on the planet. The downstream effects will include more extreme weather, rising seas with the potential to inundate coastal areas, and the loss of a primary source of drinking water in places like Peru and China. The “big thaw” will ultimately force changes in every sector, from agriculture to manufacturing, and the potential for food and water shortages to destabilize nations is considered a matter of national security.

So here’s something to add to your calendar in the days after the election this November. Go see Chasing Ice when it opens commercially, and take someone with you – maybe that friend or cousin who still isn’t quite sure about “all that global warming stuff.”  After all, seeing is believing.

Cat Lazaroff