Several years ago, as I stood upon the bow of a ship leaving the Arctic sea ice after months of research, a senior colleague observed that I had become “ice bitten.” He was right. It’s a feeling that’s never left me, one that still motivates me today. And as a new documentary, “Chasing Ice,” hits the big screens this weekend for a limited engagement, one thing is clear. I’m not the only one.
If you wait to watch this documentary — which opens in many cities this week — at home or on your mobile device, you risk missing the full thrill of scaling the heights of hauntingly beautiful, extreme, and remote locations alongside acclaimed National Geographic photographer, James Balog.
You see, James Balog became “ice bitten” after his first trip to the Arctic and he risked his career, indeed his life, to chasing ice before it disappeared from the field of view of his time-lapse cameras. The video below is just a sample of Balog’s work to document the massive retreat of Columbia Glacier and gives you a sense of the main motivation for why we are chasing ice on our warming planet.
My most recent “chasing ice” experience was visiting the Columbia Glacier and the other glaciers named after colleges in “College Fjord” in Prince William Sound Alaska. I took a train from Anchorage directly to Prince William Sound, where our boat allowed up-close viewing of these glaciers and allowed us to hear the deep roar and cracking sounds as they dropped large chunks of ice into Prince William Sound.
If you want to experience something similar on a big screen, you have to chase this movie fast, like the ice, before it disappears from theaters. The passion expressed by James Balog as he chases ice around the planet really comes through and puts a personal story on events that will ultimately influence all coastal residents grappling with sea level rise and those of us who enjoy visiting our friends and family who live within a few miles of the sea (which, incidentally, is a high proportion of us).
If you’re in the Washington, D.C., area, scientists such as W.Tad Pfeffer are on tap discussing their personal experiences studying these glaciers in discussions groups after the film this Friday and Saturday.
Support from UCS members make work like this possible. Will you join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthy environment and a safer world.