Daily Video

December 3, 2012

Ice = Climate Change in 3D

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Photographer James Balog spends his days at the top of the world: climbing glaciers and documenting their disappearance with his camera.

“Ice is the tangible manifestation of climate change. It’s where you can see it in three dimensions,” Balog explains. He recently spent five years documenting the changing nature of glaciers in time-lapse photography and video as part of the Extreme Ice Survey.

He has set up 34 cameras in various locations around the world to watch 16 different glaciers, each taking a picture about every thirty minutes. Over time, the pictures tell the story of a dynamic landscape, with monumental glaciers shrinking to almost nothing in a time that was surprisingly short to Balog.

“Glaciers are very fast-moving characters,” Balog said. “They respond on an hourly, daily and weekly basis to the weather conditions around them.”

But Balog is not merely an amateur observer of these phenomena. He is trained in geomorphology and in mountaineering, and has been working as a photographer for nearly forty years.

Photographing harsh environments is very physically demanding work, and Balog has experienced several major knee injuries that have led to surgery. However, he says, “I feel this profound commitment to continuing to tell this story. I feel like I’m in the middle of the biggest story I could possibly ever be in the middle of as an environmental photographer.”


Quote

“Ice is the tangible manifestation of climate change. It’s where you can see it in three dimensions,” – James Balog, photographer.

Warm up questions

1. What is climate change?

2. How do we see the effects of climate change in the world around us?

Discussion questions

1. Do you think global climate change is an important issue for this generation? Why or why not?

2. Why do you think Balog chose photography as a way to make a statement about climate change?

3. Do you think this documentary will help spur people to action? Why or why not?

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