Last night I watched the new documentary Chasing Ice. It was amazing. The movie is about a scientist turned photographer, James Balog, who wanted to make a difference in the “way he knew how”. In 2005 James hooked up with National Geographic to set up cameras in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana to take time-lapse photographs of glaciers for three years, thus started the Extreme Ice Survey. The movie is about this process as well as what he and his team found out there on the ice. He shows how glaciers have receded more in the last 10 years than they have in the last 100 years. The evidence is undeniable. You can see it right before your eyes and it is beautiful, it is breathtaking, it is horrifying. Here’s the trailer:
It was timely to see this movie yesterday, as yesterday was the day of the largest climate change rally in history in Washington D.C. People gathered in the Capital to protest climate inaction and, specifically the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would further commit us to ever dirtier sources of oil, tar sands. Also, just last week President Obama spent a large portion of his State of the Union address talking about how if Congress doesn’t act to stop climate change, he will. It is so important that we have a president who understands the urgency of this issue, but it is unfortunate that many politicians and media sources have made it a social issue equivalent to abortion or religion, which some people have strong opinions on. Climate change is not a social issue. It is a scientific fact. It is also political because acting to reduce climate change means new policies and changing our economy. It is also a biodiversity issue- and not just for polar bears.
Chasing Ice featured many scientists, mostly climatologists and glaciologists, but also a woman named Terry Root made a brief appearance and talked about our current mass extinction event. Terry Root is a biologist that has been one of the most prominent voices explaining how climate change is NOW affecting species numbers and distributions. She tirelessly cites the evidence of species moving and dying because of temperature and climatic changes. Yes, species can adapt to temperature changes but not at the rate the changes are occurring, but more importantly, species cannot adapt and shift ranges with houses and sterile cornfields and walmarts all over the landscape. At least 20% of Earth’s species will go extinct with the global warming that is already occurring. That is what scares me the most. This is big stuff happening right now. Go to the links above to learn more or google “what can I do to stop global warming” and spread your knowledge. Do what you can in the way you know how.