Is Slippery Slope
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
We don’t get much snow here in Key West … well, none to be exact. But living on an island we should be concerned about water levels being affected by melting glaciers and ice floes. I’m not looking for my house in the middle of Old Town to become waterfront property.
“Chasing Ice” – currently playing at the Tropic Cinema – is the documentary about National Geographic photographer James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, a program that charts climate change. Using time-lapse photography, the haunting images of melting glaciers and receding ice sheets will remove any doubts you ever had about global warming’s affect on this planet.
In order to document these changes, the Extreme Ice Survey was born in the mid-2000s. Balog set up 27 cameras in Alaska, Iceland, Greenland and Montana and took pictures every hour of daylight for a few years.
“What we saw right away was ice disappearing. Ice retreating. Ice retreating at a remarkably fast rate – I mean much, much, much more rapid than I had anticipated. What we saw in those first downloads to the cameras in 2007 was kind of staggering,” says Balog. “To be honest with you, six years later when we go and open up those cameras and play back what happened, it’s still shocking. We’re still seeing lots of retreat, and in some cases we’re also seeing rivers form and lakes form where there once was ice.”
He describes glaciers as “the canary in the global coal mine.” When you see these 3-D manifestations disappearing, you start to worry.
“I’ve been knocking around the world’s mountain ranges for 40 years,” says Balog. “It remains shocking to see these large, seemingly immutable features of the landscape disappearing at this rate.”