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Chasing Ice

National Geographic photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. After years of work on the Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet.

In the documentary film, Chasing Ice, Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. By compressing years of change by stringing up thousands of photographs at a rapid rate, like frames of film, Balog tells the story of the glaciers, as if the glaciers themselves were talking.

Medieval thinkers like Rove, Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Hannity may have large megaphones through which to blast their dumbed-down soundbites at millions of people, but they obviously have no science education.

They certainly do disservice and insult to just about every serious climatologist who knows, not speculates, that the world climate is changing at a rapid rate, right in front of our eyes.

Yes. Some glaciers have actually grown in the last few years. In the Yukon Territory, out of the 1,500 glaciers, four (yes 4) have grown in the last few decades. About 300 have disappeared altogether. And the remaining approximately 1,200 have all receded significantly.

The CO2 level in the atmosphere was always between 180 and 300 parts per million (ppm) over the last in 800,000 years, never above 300 ppm. On Mauna Loa in October 2011, it was 388 ppm, in October 2012, it was 391 ppm. This dramatic rise has occurred just over the last few decades and is off the charts for the last 800,000 years. Arguing that this is normal fluctuation of the earth’s cycle is ludicrous. The last time levels were in the current range was 15 – 20 million years ago, when the earth was an entirely different eco-system with much higher sea levels. The only significant massive change on earth to bring this on is the spread of humanity and industrialization.

In my opionion, watching Chasing Ice should be mandatory for any educated person. Skeptics might come out changed. Alarmists might be more alarmed.

I felt pensive, restless, and not quite in balance when I left the theater and got into my 25 mpg fossil-fuel-burning car to drive the 25 miles home.

Something’s got to change.

Rating: ****

For my readers in San Diego: Chasing Ice in playing at the Ken in Kensington.

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