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Could Cameras Be the Best Weapon Against Climate Change? Could Cameras Be the Best Weapon Against Climate Change?
Environment

Could Cameras Be the Best Weapon Against Climate Change?

by Jeff Orlowski

November 29, 2012

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When I started following photographer James Balog, I was not planning on making a film; I just wanted to document his adventures around the world. And I knew that his idea to shoot time-lapse videos of glaciers for multiple years could potentially create groundbreaking imagery of our changing planet.

Over the course of five years, I traveled around the Arctic with Balog for the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), and learned first-hand just how fast the ice is melting—faster than scientists predicted. The consequences of man-made climate change are real and very significant. I did not consider myself an environmental activist before making this film, but having learned what I have, I feel a responsibility to get the truth out into the world.

In roughly my grandmother's lifetime, sea level has risen 8 inches. A child born today will experience an increase to sea level of about 3 feet to 6 feet. The rate of change is so remarkable, so dramatic, and we are already seeing the consequences of man-made climate change. The scientists have been telling us for decades to expect more events like Hurricane Sandy.

Climate change is not a distant threat. It's already changing the way we live, and it already cost the global economy a massive $1.2 trillion last year alone. We don't know how bad things may get, but the predictions are dire. The question is not, "Is climate change happening?" Nor is the question, “Is climate change man-made?” The question is: "What are we going to do about it?"

In Chasing Ice, James says that he wanted to honestly say to his daughters in 20 to 30 years that he did everything he could to make a difference by confronting climate change. As a photographer, he wanted to reveal the truth through innovative visual evidence. I believe deeply that every one of us has an individual talent or trait that can make a difference. On our team, everybody brought their different skills and resources to the project, whether it was the lawyer, the producer, the designer, or composer, each trying to make a difference. We can and must use our combined skills and every opportunity available to address climate change. I challenge our viewers: don’t ask us what you can do. Instead, figure out how you can make a difference and share those stories and actions with us.

When James started EIS, he thought it would be a three-year project. When he reached three years, he thought it would be a 5 year project. At five years, he knew it would be a forever project.

I am humbled and honored to be a part of this mission, and I am indebted to our team, the film festivals who have supported us, my family, and most importantly to the people who watch the movie. It is because of each of you that our story continues to be shared around the world. When one sees the evidence in the photographs, they can’t deny it. We hope Chasing Ice continues to have opportunities to be shared, and that it continues to shift perception.

Please join our team, and help us preserve a sustainable and healthy planet for all future generations.

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