First up: Chasing Ice
If you haven’t heard about this one, it’s a documentary about the Extreme Ice Survey, a time-lapse photography project led by James Balog. About 30 cameras were installed (no mean feat!) to take time lapses of glaciers in the Arctic. That climate change is happening, is not something I need much convincing of. One can easily point to the many many variables this visual imagery cannot take into account (despite media headlines of course of ‘irrefutable truths’ etc). Nonetheless the retreat of the glaciers these cameras record, over just a few years, is quite staggering. Yes, this was over a short time period, but for me, watching such massive chunks of ice calving off into the sea and thinking about the long term trends and predictions at the same time, made for some scary and quite emotional viewing. Which, I presume is the main point of the project: giving people something real and happening to visualise when scientists talk of sea level rise, melting ice caps.
At some points of the film I was hankering to see more of the time lapse photos and less of the story of getting them, but it is that very personal story which makes the film poignant and real. Having that story set in the context of archived media reports on climate change works very well to get the message across.
It was a shame then, that the after film Q and A session did not acknowledge these reactions and emotions we might be having. What it did was place us firmly back in our seats and within the context of funding budgets and entertaining stories of arctic fieldwork antics.
As far as the PhD project goes, I am left wondering how all this looks and feels to people who live next door to glaciers, where ice is part of the everyday landscape, though I’m sure it can’t be so dramatic 24/7…
Also, I need to get more thermals!
UK screenings of Chasing Ice: http://chasingice.co.uk/screenings
 “The term ‘game changer’ barely does the film justice, and the big screen is just the place to see it in all its ominous splendour. ” 4 – Time Out
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Foust, C.R., Murphy, W.O. (2009) ‘Revealing and Reframing Apocalyptic Tragedy in Global Warming Discourse’, Environmental Communication, 3(2), 151–167.
Veldman, R.G. (2012) ‘Narrating the Environmental Apocalypse: How Imagining the End Facilitates Moral Reasoning Among Environmental Activists’, Ethics & the Environment, 17(1), 1–23.