Free Chasing Ice Movie Review Sample
Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
The environment and its depletion is a growing issue in today’s modern society. What was once something so easy to brush out of our minds is now something evidential and threatening to our sustainability. The changing landscape, as well as our contribution to it, is beginning to assure that events such as mass extinctions and the flooding of coastlines are no longer something of radical mythology. The documentary, Chasing Ice, follows James Balog, a dedicated photographer and his equally dedicated crew of photographers, engineers, and scientists, as they document the changing glacial landscape in Greenland, Alaska, and Montana. Their aim was to assess how quickly the glaciers were melting, and what that meant for society. Balog suspected he would find relatively drastic change in the glaciers he documented over the making of the documentary, but the results he assessed were far more striking than he ever feared. Chasing Ice shows that not only are we in graver danger than we once thought, but also if we do not start making changes now, there will be no going back.
Throughout the documentary, it became evident that the community affected by glacial melting was the world community. According to the documentary, as well as an article featured in Tellus B, one of the primary reasons the glaciers were melting at such a heightened rate was the level of CO2 in the atmosphere . It is the highest it has ever been, exceeding natural levels by 200%, and causing some glaciers to decrease inside by between fifty and one hundred feet per year . The extra water causes the ocean waters to rise, which can cause flooding along the coastlines. Mass flooding is predicted in the next one hundred years, while mass extinctions are predicted in the next two hundred. A mass extinction is dictated by between half and three-fourths of the planet’s species dying out in roughly the same timeframe. This will include plants and animals. Food will become scarce, and the planet may lose many planets that clean the air and water, as well as pollinate other plants. As was mentioned in the documentary, in China it is already necessary for the population to pollinate plants by hand in order to sustain crops. Essentially the entire world is being affected by glacial melting, according to Chasing Ice.
As mentioned, the primary driving force in the significant melting of large glaciers has been the level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. As stated in, “Glaciers and Glaciation,” by Douglas Benn and David J.A. Evans, the Earth’s atmosphere as never exceeded 200 parts per million when concerning CO2 . However, when humans began introducing unnatural elements into the Earth’s atmosphere, such as emission from cars, plants, factories, aerosol cans, etc., the CO2 levels began to rise drastically. They are now rising between 100 and 1,000 times faster than they did when the Earth was left to its natural devices.
Moreover, the population at large refuses to believe they are the problem or that their behavior has any impact on the environment. Glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate. Some melt right out from under the animals they support. Species of penguins are disappearing, and polar bears have been marked as an endangered species because of glacial melting . However, humans still refuse to admit it is a problem. Environmentalists insist CO2 emissions are directly related to the melting of glaciers, extinction, and a rise in natural disasters such as flooding. Chasing Ice takes a moment to shine the spotlight on individuals who refuse to believe that they are a part of the problem, without realizing they could also be a part of the solution. We live in a culture where nobody wants to be held accountable for his or her actions. Collectively, we deny that we had any part of the melting of the polar ice caps because we only think of ourselves as a singular person. How could I, myself, this one person, have made an entire glacier recede by one hundred feet in one year? This is a valid thought, but does not help the societal stigma that allows us all to deny any further involvement in solving the issue or helping the planet. Rather, it allows us to justify our actions by thinking if I am one person, I cannot melt a glacier and, therefore, I cannot save one. I shall continue living as I have been. One person cannot save the planet, but together we can.
Many programs, policies, and regulations today address this issue. Some, unfortunately, are not taken seriously. Balog’s group, known as Extreme Ice Survey, was not a group founded to do anything about the melting of the glaciers, but rather to bring attention to the problem. They were able to do this by setting up equipment in several locations. The cameras the mounted took pictures every hour that daylight was available in their respective location. Over a season, the team was able to compile the photos and assess how the glaciers were progressing, or receding. In some photo sets, the glaciers and dissipated so dramatically the team wondered if they were in the correct spot. In an effort to correct the horrific environmental issue that threatens to kill us all, certain programs, policies, and regulations have been put in place in an attempt to rectify the mistakes made by humans. For example, many countries have placed a regulation on plants stating that CO2 filters and monitors must be present on all output stacks. What this means is plants and factories in the United States and Canada, for example, have output monitors on air stacks that screen the amount of CO2 leaving the facility. Most facilities are also now being required to install filtering systems in an attempt to limit the amount of CO2 that enters the atmosphere . While this has made a small dent in the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 levels, other countries such as China and India have no such regulations. Their factories are free to pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere as they wish, which has put the climate at a disadvantage. Not only are the glaciers melting, and China’s population forced to self-pollinate their crops, but also India has been experiencing acid rain since the 1980’s because of the noxious pollution .
There are, of course, many more things that could be done to reduce CO2 levels other than simply putting regulations on factories. Individuals could take responsibilities for their own lives, and try to live cleaner and healthier. Cars are the cause of an estimated twenty-five to forty percent of CO2 emissions worldwide . Many people know this, but do not take the steps not to be a part of the problem any longer. Carpooling or taking public transportation whenever possible would help cut down on individual CO2 emissions. Biking or walking to nearby destinations would also make a difference. Recycling, as well as buying recycled products whenever possible, would also help the environment and the depleting ozone. The greenhouse gasses trapped in our atmosphere are creating an increasingly warmer climate. As our consumption rises, factories must be open longer, and run at an increased rate in an effort to keep up with demand. Whether the specific factory has a regulation on CO2 emissions or not, it all increases the greenhouses gasses, effectively heating up the atmosphere . This contributes to the melting of glaciers, as well. If more items were recycled and more recycled items were purchased or repurposed, there would be a decrease in these greenhouse gasses and an eventual drop in the rising atmospheric temperature. Many individuals make the mistake of thinking, as one person, they cannot make a difference. They neglect to remember that if everybody tried, each effort would add up to an enormous difference.
Concerning my recommended strategies, there are many barriers that may prevent society from accepting them and moving forward to a greener and healthier tomorrow. General acceptance has kept mankind at a standstill until now. Balog mentioned in the documentary that we still, as a society, are quarreling over issues such as evolution or whether man walked on the moon. The question of whether glaciers are truly melting and whether it will negatively affect human’s existence has been an argument for the past one hundred years. The only difference now is that there is undisputable proof. They are melting, it is affecting us negatively, and it will continue to do so. We continue to deny the evidence. Acceptance would be the only solution. We must accept that we have damaged the planet and understand that working together as a collective society is the only way to move forward. Many, as stated, also do not believe that their singular life has any impact on a glacier, thus their efforts to improve their life will not have an impact on one either. To overcome this barrier, one would need to understand that the collective efforts are only made possible through the singular efforts of individuals. Without each person trying to make an effort as an individual, there is no collective difference. Perhaps results taken from communities who enforce clean living could show that when groups of people try together, there can be a noticeable difference. If individuals do not feel like they are trying for nothing, or like they are making a difference, they will be more inclined to make the necessary changes.
In sum, Chasing Ice was an eye0opening view into the world of glacial melting. Though many understand it is a problem deserving attention, few understand its true magnitude. The documentary brings the true greatness of the problem into sharp focus. It is ironic that the problem is so great, while the glaciers themselves, once massive in size shrink right out from under our feet. We are the only ones to blame for the potentially environmental catastrophe. While dedicated individuals like Balog and his team continue trying to bring these issues to the forefront of society, it will take more than a few regulations on industrial facilities to undo the damage we as a species have done. We must accept how harmful we have been to the environment and do our part to repair it, lest we face the consequences, watching our coastal cities be swallowed by the ocean and at least three-fourths of the planet’s species die out.
Benn, D., & Evans, D. J. (2014). Glaciers and Glaciation. London: Routledge.
Sejr, M., Krause-Jenson, D., Rysgaard, S., Sorenson, L., Christenson, P., & Glud, R. (2011). Air–sea flux of CO2 in arctic coastal waters influenced by glacial melt water and sea ice. Tellus B, 815-822.
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