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“Chasing Ice” Reveals Stories on Global Climate Change

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 13 2012 (IPS) - Combining art with science, U.S. photographer James Balog invites his audience to see the destructive and shocking effects of global climate change in his latest documentary film “Chasing Ice”.

The film follows his photographic environmental project “Extreme Ice Survey” in which he attempts to frame the melting glaciers of the North.

Known for his work to capture the interaction between human and nature through a lens –including endangered animals and forests- he takes environmental photography to a whole new level, demonstrating an urgent message about the impact and the visible manifestations of global climate change.

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, the documentary shows Balog and his team literally “chasing the ice” in the blistering cold and mountainous arctic landscapes mounting up to what is now known as the most wide-ranging photographic glacier study. The study encompassed a research of three years placing photographic equipment in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska capturing the melting process of the glaciers and the much-feared rising sea level.

The project that started out in 2007 initially received lots of resistance and scepticism. Not just from the parties opposing the idea of climate change in the international debate, but also from the electronic devices and equipment that in the first attempt failed to cooperate.

“Looking back there was a lot of uncertainty on whether we we’re going to pull it off. When this started we didn’t know what the situation was like up there, if the hardware would work and if we could keep this funded long enough to make it meaningful ,” admitted Balog in a panel discussion at the United Nations headquarters.

Over the course of time, Balog’s work on “the stories that the glaciers are telling” has received much recognition: it has been showcased by the National Geographic Magazine, featured in the 2009 Nova documentary “Extreme Ice” and “Chasing Ice” has even been nominated for an Academy Award.

Repeatedly invoking Hurricane Sandy as the most prominent and recent example of aggravating manifestations of global climate change and increasingly destructive events, his “obsession for the ice” -as Balog likes to call it- aims to spread the message on “our changing world”.

“It is not too late if we take action immediately,” announces Balog during the panel discussion. “We plan to keep on going, because there is no excuse to stop.”

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