A glimpse of what we’ve done to the planet earth.

Chasing Ice is a mind-boggling documentary that strives to mingle art with the current condition of the planet earth. James Balog, with his cameras, was phenomenally able to capture the alerting rate at which the enormous ancient glaciers in Iceland, Alaska, Greenland, and the Arctic are eroding and depleting. It’s more than just a movie; it’s an eye-opener and a visual reference to how much human activities are alarmingly affecting climates on the Earth.

The documentary follows National Geographic photographer and Extreme Ice Survey founder James Balog and his passionate team across Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, the Atlantic ocean, and the Arctic. James Balog is an American photographer whose work explores the relationship between humans and nature. He was intrigued by nature and its surreal beauty. While working on a master’s degree in geomorphology at the University of Colorado, he honed his photography skills during frequent climbing trips. Without prior photography knowledge, James was still able to capture what humanity is doing to nature. James has captured many of the best photographs related to climate change around the world. His works have been published on the cover of National Geography, Smithsonian, etc.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

James believes that if there is something going on in nature to some extent it's fine, but when it starts to happen in an enormous amount, we are under a big threat.

“Anything excess is a threat.”

- James Balog.

He documented the ice melting and expressed his sorrow towards the process. He said that the ice glaciers are becoming extinct and are important sites to capture, so as to inform society about the harm we are causing. To capture the change in the glacier he clicked pictures in different months. He noticed a lot was changed in six months. the glacial was completely changed. It was a horrifying moment.

His team installed custom-made time-lapse cameras to document never before seen glaciation at an extreme. The resulting photography is both frightening and breathtakingly beautiful. In spite of the harsh conditions, the team set up their cameras, and go for an extreme venture. They find a place to hide cameras during extreme weather. They installed cameras in Alaska, and now to Greenland.

At one point we witness footage of the largest ever recorded glacier calving, an iceberg larger than the island of Manhattan calves from a glacier in about 75 minutes. Politicians and energy corporation executives should be made to sit a mandatory viewing of this. Seize any opportunity you get to go see this on the big screen.

The issues that many people seem to have with this film are that it doesn’t engage in a political argument and that it doesn’t provide a solution to the problem. Balog stated that this isn’t a political problem, it’s a universal problem. The point is he’s delivering a message with his photography and he’s letting the photographs do the talking, not tarnishing the message with politics. & the aim of this film is to spread awareness not to provide a solution.

He stated that the glacier recreated in a lot of time and are being depleted into small chunks, seeing what damage we have done to the environment is heartbreaking. While installing the cameras, the team noticed an avalanche, which is really hard to capture. For the team, it was an astonishing moment but at the same time, it was a moment of heartbreak and the strong realization of what we have done to this earth.

There are some of the issues conveyed in the movie. First of them being, the problems caused due to harmful UV rays falling on the earth from the sun. The ozone layer is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, as more and more, greenhouse gases get trapped on the surface of the earth, the ozone layer gets depleted, which causes UV rays to directly fall on our skin and destroys it. Recently, many people are being the victims of skin diseases caused due to UV rays like skin cancer, sunburn (Erythema), and Premature Aging of the Skin.

The second health-related issue conveyed in the movie is the damage done to the eyes because of the UV rays. Many of the people around the world now days lose their vision beaches of the excess of sunlight they receive. UV rays can also damage the eyes as more than 99% of UV radiation is absorbed by the front of the eyes. Corneal damage, cataracts, and macular degeneration are all possible chronic effects from UV exposure and can ultimately lead to blindness. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can also develop within the eye. Intraocular melanomas are the most common ocular malignancy in whites. These melanomas originate in the uveal melanocytes, which are found the iris, ciliary body, and choroids of the eye.

The third health-related issue conveyed in the movie is the wildfire. It is a fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or rural area. Fires occur naturally, ignited by heat from the sun or a lightning strike. The wildfire will eventually cause air pollution and decreased air quality, which in turn will increase breathing problems, and lung diseases.

Moreover, the water level around the world has risen, which leads to the disappearance of the small island, thus creating problems for the people residing on those islands. Moreover, animals living in the polar regions and cold weather are deteriorating in health because of the reduction of the ice because of global warming. They are designed to live in the cold regions but the warmer weather becomes a problem for them.

What this documentary does is capture his journey to photograph these glaciers. It shows his struggles, his failures, and his successes. Yes, he may come off as a bit of a hero, but what he’s doing truly is heroic and simply cannot be missed. The photography throughout this film is spectacular — absolutely gorgeous. In fact, he photographed an article on this topic for National Geographic, and if you’ve seen their photographs, you know the level of quality we’re talking about here.

As one who has been concerned about man’s negative impact on the environment, this movie still manages to draw me to the edge of my seat by the way it captures the polar warming impact in an absolutely stunning portrayal of the massive glacial melt happening within a short time. The reals behind the movie are very important and worth giving attention to. What we have done and what we are going to do in the future is unhealthy to Mother Earth. For making people aware of what they are doing to the environment, we need to show every young people. They will beware of the harmful disease diseased and health-related problems caused by the harmful UV rays and Global warming altogether. It is an excellent product of a very resourceful and fiercely focused individual and is definitely more worthy of one’s time than even the most profitable Hollywood blockbuster.

I could give this a 5 star because along with being a very informative movie, there’s kind of this sense of impending doom amidst all the beauty. It essentially shows all the damage humanity has done, in the past ten or so years alone, and I can only hope it’s not too late to fix at least some of what we’ve caused. If this documentary can’t get you to see the world and its people differently, then I don’t think much else can, his results are simply that stunning.


MURPHY, MEKADO (2012), What to Expect When You’re Shooting Glacier Talking With Jeff Orlowski About ‘Chasing Ice’, The New York Times, retrieved from, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/movies/talking-with-jeff-orlowski-about-chasing-ice.html

ROTHMAN, LILY (2012), Chasing Ice: Could Time-Lapse Photography Save the Planet? Time, retrieved from http://time.com/3786950/chasing-ice/

EBIRI, BILGE (2012), Chasing Ice Review, Spirituality and health, retrieved from https://spiritualityhealth.com/reviews/film/2012/12/15/chasing-ice

MARK JENKINS (2012), ‘Chasing Ice,’ And Capturing Climate Change On Film, NPR.com, retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2012/11/08/164236520/chasing-ice-and-capturing-climate-change-on-film

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