Global Warming: ‘Chasing Ice’ will make you want to save the world

The path to inspiration often begins with frustration.

On Sunday morning I left the house with the intention of going to one of my favorite Baltimore winter activities – Cinema Sundays at the Charles Theater.

This is a favorite because it includes four of my hearts desires: old, historic buildings; breakfast; movies, and great discussions.

I usually leave Cinema Sundays feeling enlightened or inspired or both.

But this Sunday I left feeling frustrated and hungry. Cinema Sundays had to be cancelled because of an unannounced BGE interruption in service for businesses along Charles Street including the theater.

Not to be daunted in my pursuit of breakfast, I went straight to XS  further south on Charles and had a feast but I had to wait to see a movie until the afternoon.

Mendenhall Glazier makes me feeling nothing but awe.  It is receding at 25 to 30 feet per year. (All photos by Leah Cooper)

I used the free passes that I got when I purchased my membership to Cinema Sunday and I went to see Chasing Ice.

Once again, the Charles Theater delivered.

Chasing Ice is a documentary film about a photographer (James Balog) who went to Iceland to photograph, what you might expect, ice. That trip launched what he called the Extreme Ice Survey; an expedition that took several years to photograph and film the life and death of icebergs and glaciers all around the world.

The images  were stunning. There were times when I saw, through his photographs, that this earth is as magical and mysterious as any far-away planet.

Unfortunately, as it is with many relationships between people, our familiarity with this planet makes us take it for granted while we admire and appreciate and attempt to get to know others that appear to be sexier.

This film made me remember that this earth of ours needs a bit more attention than I have been showing it.

And with renewed romantic feelings I remembered the first time I saw an iceberg with my own eyes.

That’s me taking it all in. (Leah Cooper)

I was in St. Johns, Newfoundland, on a whale watching boat. It was a grey day with billowing clouds in the sky. The wind was strong and the swells were enormous. I had heard that the way to avoid motion sickness was to focus your attention on the horizon so I trained my eyes to the faint line between sea and sky and there it was– as majestic as a crowned king -a mountain of ice that was so enormous and regal that it took my breath away.

I wanted to be near it. I wanted to touch it. I wanted to see more of it.

A few years later I was given the chance to go to Alaska and I jumped at the opportunity to get up close and personal with the mysterious world of ice.

Mendenhall Glacier, in Juneau, Alaska    is a beauty that made it impossible for me to feel anything but awe.

The slow moving river of ice had shapes and colors reminiscent of the crystal prism which hung in my childhood bedroom window and enchanted me with rainbows on the wall.

I learned how long it has lived…how far it has travelled and then, with horror, how quickly it has deteriorated in the last 20 years. Mendenhall Glacier is receding at a rate of 25 to 30 feet per year.

Natural beauty. Everyone needs to make an effort to create change so we don’t lose this masterpiece. (Leah Cooper)

Chasing Ice documents the disappearing of icebergs and glaciers all around the world and provides indisputable visual evidence of global warming and the tremendous impact it is having on our beautiful planet.

This film opened my heart up to the wondrous beauty of our natural world and then it put a vice around my heart. I feel powerless to stop the destructive momentum of the people living here.

I feel impotent. How can any small thing I do help such an enormous problem? How can one person turn the tide in this sea of humanity?

 The answer is that one person can’t make a difference. One person’s efforts will melt away, unnoticed, like a flake of snow on a too-warm winter day.
But if one person joins another and another and another…well, perhaps it is possible to create a change.

So I will make the effort – even if it feels fruitless. I will make Baltimore cleaner and safer for the here and now. I will make friends in the process and I will encourage you to do the same.

Here is a good resource you can go to if you want meet others in Baltimore who are making the effort:

Alone there isn’t much we can do but together, maybe, we can save the world.

One thought on “Global Warming: ‘Chasing Ice’ will make you want to save the world

  • January 19, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    ………… Save the world….. from what, exactly?

    This film artfully shows melting ice, but this does literally nothing to prove human activity causes global warming — I assume the insinuation of this article is that we do — and filmmaker Balog certainly has no climate expertise to claim human activity is responsible for this.

    To clarify something the article writer may not be aware of, skeptic climate scientists argue that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has not conclusively proven that human-induced greenhouse gases drive global warming, and reports citing numerous peer-reviewed science journal-published papers support that assessment, such as the NIPCC Reports ( )

    By all means, I don’t discourage people from seeing “Chasing Ice”, but afterward I’d suggest as a matter of due diligence on learning as much as they can about the issue, they should also view “The Boy Who Cried Warming” and “Apocalypse? No!”

    Certainly people should make a difference about concerns that actually matter, but if what little global warming we are actually seeing is not any kind of crisis, it is arguably an irresponsible waste of time and money to focus on it when it may actually be a natural phenomenon we can’t a thing to stop.

Comments are closed.