Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Chasing Ice (2012) ***½

PG-13, 75 min.
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Writer: Mark Monroe
Featuring: James Balog, Svavar Jonatansson, Adam LeWinter, Jeff Orlowski, Tad Pfeffer

So, in the middle of summer melting ice might seem like a given, but in the grand scheme of things the amount of ice that is melting on this planet is very bad. “Chasing Ice” is a documentary made about James Balog, a photographer with some science background who decided to see if he could produce some photographic evidence of the global warming phenomenon that some would like to dispute.

Here’s the thing. Global warming is not political. Global warming is not political. Global warming is not political. Let me say that again, global warming is not political. How, how, how did the public at large get it in their heads that it is? Why, why, why would a politician think this would be an issue ripe for division of parties? My best guess is that the oil companies feel threatened by it, when in truth it threatens us all. Climate change is undeniable, and you don’t have to be a scientist or a mathematician to see it.

“Chasing Ice” is at once a work of beauty and a work of horror. Balog set up time-lapse cameras at several glaciers throughout the world. What he records is nothing short of heart stopping. The images he captures are works of art and irrefutable proof that global warming is no mere theory. These glaciers are natural monuments that have stood for centuries, and they are dying fast. I watched my dad whisked away by cancer in a matter of weeks. When taken in perspective, his sudden death might seem slow compared to how quickly these glaciers are disappearing.

The documentary accomplishes what it set out to do, just as Balog does. It is a work of art and an important document of information. What it lacks is any sort of solutions. It may be there aren’t any. Balog does state that at certain points these natural phenomenon reach a point of no return, and it seems the glaciers studied here are well past those points. Surely there are measure that can be taken to lessen the blow we are giving to our planet, or places that can be explored by the public for more information besides the film’s website. It’s obvious we have a problem. Anybody who doesn’t think so is an idiot. Now, what the hell do we do about it?

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