The documentary (directed and photographed by Jeff Orlowski) follows the efforts of photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey Project as they travel to Greenland, Iceland and Alaska to create a wide-ranging photographic study of the world’s glaciers. The story begins in 2005 when Balog documented the changing climate in the Arctic for National Geographic. He went in a skeptic, but was soon convinced that the ice contained the incontrovertible truth about global warming. Expanding his project from a magazine assignment to an elaborate 25 camera shoot –snapping pictures every hour as long as there was daylight—he created an eye-opening time-lapse account of a world in flux.
If nothing else “Chasing Ice” captures the power of Mother Nature. Balog’s images are starkly beautiful, showing these ancient glaciers bowing to the pressures of a modern world as they disappear at a shocking rate. But along with that strange beauty comes an uncomfortable feeling that these images are signaling something with huge repercussions. They are awe inspiring in a way that “An Inconvenient Truth’s” graphs and statistics aren’t.
Climate change is a political hot button subject, but if even if you don’t agree the earth is changing as a result of humankind’s reliance on fossil fuels, it is undeniable that “Chasing Ice” provides powerful and thought-provoking fodder for discussion.