As you walk around campus, you may notice bright advertisements and posters, a collage of pictures of events on the wall in Cranberry’s, or even some pictures lining the academic hallways showing the happy faces of students and faculty who are proud of their many successes. When events and information are displayed as pictures, they tend to stir up emotion. An image can make us feel pleased, sad, thoughtful, or perhaps even angry. Sometimes there is nothing more powerful than imagery.
That is exactly what Chasing Ice, the upcoming documentary in Rider’s Green Film Series, accomplishes. Chasing Ice is a film that displays the effects of climate change through the thrilling and all-too-real adventures of environmental photographer James Balog.
In 2005, National Geographic gave Balog an assignment in the Arctic — capture real images that tell the story of Earth’s changing climate. Balog set up revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the rapidly disappearing glaciers. The powerful footage shows in seconds what can be done in a few short years as ancient ice mountains begin to recede.
Historical climate records show that there have been consistently warmer temperatures in recent years and many areas are likely to see extreme weather patterns such as severe droughts, torrential rain and violent storms.
Some climate change is natural; over time, the Earth has transitioned through many warm periods and ice ages. The issue of climate change, however, has become increasingly indisputable and even more complex as anthropogenic, or human causes, comes into question.
According to chasingice.com, plants and oceans tolerate climate change by absorbing more carbon than they release. Only 40% of carbon emissions from humans are naturally absorbed. The rest is “trapped” in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect, which causes increasing temperatures. As a result, we can experience problems such as changing landscapes, rising seas, ocean acidification, extinction of species and increased risk of flooding and fire.
It is not hopeless, though — we can make changes to avoid this bleak future. Using solar, wind and geothermal energy where possible can help eliminate burning fossil fuels that accelerate climate change. More simply, we can advocate change. Making small changes like using CFL or LED lights, lowering your thermostat or driving an energy-efficient car can also help make a difference.
Educate yourself. Let others know what you are doing. With the Green Film Series, Rider is striving to make this information as accessible to students as possible and to help spread the word of change. Chasing Ice shows us that we may have less time for action than we think. Come join us for this powerful film on either Oct. 8 or Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Science building, room 102. There will be a brief discussion following the film.