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The Earth’s Ice Melting in “Chasing Ice” Documentary Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Aug 17th, 2020

Our planet is changing every day and, unfortunately, taking into account the man’s involvement, this change is mainly undesirable. Jeff Orlowski’s 2012 revealing documentary Chasing Ice is devoted to one of such dreadful changes, the melting of the Earth’s ice cap. Raising the most contradictory environmental issue of our time, the director admonishes the reckless people and through awe and excitement forces them to take action in saving the dearest home.

The film shows us that no matter how many disputes about global warming and climate change there maybe it is better to see the grim truth for oneself. The National Geographic photographer James Balog, the main hero of the documentary, before 2005 did not believe in global warming until he received the editorial board’s task to travel to the Arctic and to capture the striking consequences himself. Later Balog gathered the Extreme Ice Survey expedition for the study of Arctic sea ice and Greenland.

He developed special equipment and cameras that allow one to track changes in the glacier for several years. With the help of those time-lapse cameras, the photographer was able to collect ominous, but beautiful evidence of global warming – the disappearance of millennial ice.

Balog’s unprecedented endeavor provides the best visual evidence of what is happening with the increasingly heating Earth. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, in the last 30 years, the Arctic region is experiencing the most dramatic changes ever. Since 1980, warming here has risen twice, and the ice surface decreased by 25%. Melted ice could open some economic opportunities in the region, but the cost of ice losses in the future will be significantly higher (United Nations Environmental Program 4).

It is believed that under the influence of high temperatures caused by man-made pollution all ice on the planet will gradually melt. Such developments will result in a 70 meters increase in the sea level by the end of the XXI century; the average temperature on the Earth will rise from 14 to 26 degrees (Semmler 209).

In the case of the Arctic, all the ice here can disappear in 40 years if the pollution remains on the same level; if the temperature rise is more than 2 degrees, this may happen even earlier (Hansen, Sato, and Hearty 62). Whiteman and Wilkinson emphasize that the disappearance of the Arctic ice will lead to an even more dramatic change of climate, abnormal weather, submergence of the coastal territories, and crisis in agriculture (par. 4-8).

Apart from revealing the awful truth, Chasing Ice proves to us that there is nothing impossible for a convinced man to prove his point of view. Balog had many troubles with his project that was “expensive, logistically challenging and plagued by technical difficulties” (O’Sullivan par. 5). He had to ice climb in extremely severe and dangerous conditions, having serious problems with his knee and being prohibited from hiking. Balog’s becomes truly obsessed, and since his deal is “the boldest expedition of his life” (“Chasing Ice Synopsys” par. 2), he finally succeeds.

Overall, it can be seen that Chasing Ice is the documentary worth to be seen by everyone, especially by those who are critical of global warming and climate change. This film is the manifestation of protest against the destruction of our planet. And James Balog by his example shows us that everyone can do at least something to incite people to positive changes in their attitudes and actions.

Works Cited

n.d. Web.

Hansen, James, Makiko Sato, and Paul Hearty 2015. . Web.

O’Sullivan, Michael. Pictures Tell an Alarming Story. 2012. Web.

Semmler, Willy. Oxford Handbook of the Macroeconomics of Global Warming, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Print.

United Nations Environmental Program 2013, New Awareness of and Opportunities for UNEP to Address Climate Change in the Arctic. Web.

Whiteman, Gail, and Jeremy Wilkinson. . 2015. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Earth's Ice Melting in "Chasing Ice" Documentary'. 17 August.

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