By Sarah Bergen
Glaciers that took years to disappear melted in seconds before nearly 150 students’ eyes on Oct. 8 and 9 in the Science building as they watched James Balog’s 2012 award-winning documentary Chasing Ice.
The film began by presenting insight into the global warming debate, a controversial topic that has been heating up in recent years.
Balog, an environmental photographer, found himself enamored with the beauty of ice after an expedition to Iceland. Before and after photographs, taken six months apart, showed that glaciers were rapidly disintegrating.
These photographs were just the spark that started the flame for Balog’s project, the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), which combines art and science through photography and videography. Once a skeptic about climate change, he understood that what the public needed was a believable, understandable piece of evidence, he said. Balog hoped that his EIS project would be just that.
Balog and his crew traveled across sheets of ice in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Montana, planting time-lapse cameras in strategic locations in order to capture the landscape over long periods of time. After some disappointing technical problems and assistance from National Geographic, Balog finally held the undeniable proof of climate change in the palm of his hand.
The result of years of patience and piecing together thousands of photographs, Balog’s videos allow his audience to witness years of footage in just seconds. The mouths of Rider students gaped as enormous mountains of ice disintegrated.
The film not only reveals stunning footage of the melting glaciers, but also provides an insight into what the melting means for our future. Balog said sea levels will increase by 1.5 to 3 feet during the lifetime of his daughter, intensifying the effects of hurricanes and typhoons and displacing thousands who live near shorelines around the world.
“We don’t have time to argue about climate change,” Balog said.
These are issues that Rider students have to be aware of and fight against. If they fail to acknowledge this enormous issue, the Jersey Shore may be gone before their children can ever see it with their own eyes.
Some students were deeply disturbed and inspired by the film.
“I was really shocked by what I saw,” said sophomore biology major Amanda DeRemer. “I knew climate change was happening, but I’ve never seen it dramatically depicted. It’s heartbreaking that people still don’t believe it is happening.”
As the debate on climate change continues, the film argues that we can change the fate of the world by staying informed and doing our part in decreasing our carbon footprint. A good starting point for change is watching Chasing Ice.
Printed in the 10/16/13 edition.