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Birthday Canyon, Greenland ice sheet

Released in 2012 (you may recall that the song performed by Scarlett Johansson over the film’s closing credits won an Oscar nomination), Chasing Ice has taken on new relevance with recent headlines about a faster-than-expected melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The film follows the herculean efforts of photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey team to install time-lapse cameras across the Arctic to document the disappearance of the world’s glaciers. Director Jeff Orlowski saves the viewing of the results until late in the film, building anticipation with the team’s discovery of equipment failure in the subzero Arctic temperatures. Watching the glaciers evaporate via the images captured by the (repaired) cameras recalls the endangered species that Blalog has also photographed.

Free screenings of the film are the draw of the Chasing Ice Ohio Tour 2014, inviting viewers to see for themselves the dramatic evidence of our changing climate; the tour launched this spring in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, whose representative, Pat Tiberi, has stated doubts about a consensus among scientists about global warming.

Glaciers are canaries in the global coal mine, the film says, and we ignore their peril at the expense of our own.


James Balog hangs off cliff by Columbia Glacier, Alaska to install time-lapse camera.