Film screening exposes climate change dangers

The destructive results of Global Warming in the Arctic tundra were shown in full color to attendees of the"Chasing Ice" screening at SMC on Tuesday. The short documentary was presented as part of the EcoAction Club's Sustainability Week activities. The club held the event in hopes of making students and faculty more aware and active about climate change.

The presentation of the film was divided up into segments during which one of the three hosting SMC professors who specialize in geology and environmental studies would share facts and insights about our changing world. The group was composed of life science professors William Selby, Alexandra Towers and Cara Thompson.

The film "Chasing Ice" follows scientist James Balog as he journeys through the Arctic and chronicles the rapid melting process of the world's ice sheets. Using time lapse photography, Balog and his team capture large swaths of the Arctic landscape washing away and transforming into rivers, rushing streams and gushing torrents of water.

The film is an urgent call to immediate action before Earth's population crosses the point of no return, and global warming becomes an inevitable march toward doom. "Chasing Ice" warns that a mass extinction is on the verge of occurring as various species are now under threat because of the shift happening in nature.

The climax of the film comes when Balog's team films the massive collapse of an entire series of ice caps in apocalyptic crescendo. As the melting continues, the 600-foot peaks of ice shoot up and disintegrate in crushing waves.

Thompson showed graphs displaying the rise in Earth's temperatures over the centuries. She explained how temperature changes can be measured from samples taken from Arctic ice samples, which trap centuries-old bubbles.

After the screening, the panel of professors engaged in a discussion on climate change.

"If a glacier melts faster than what it accumulates, it will retreat," said Selby, who lamented on how politics have prevented any clear debate on climate change.

"Unfortunately this has become a political issue with people who have never even used the scientific method," he said.

Calling on policymakers and politicians, Selby demanded that something be done about the current state of the environment and future of the Earth.

The issue of what world governments are not doing to combat climate change was also discussed by Towers.

"The United States along with various political leaders have said we don't want to talk about [it]," said Towers, who then said that it has led other countries like India and China avoid the issue.

Now, she said the U.S. is changing their attitudes about global warming, admitting there is a stall in change but things are beginning to swing in favor of environmentally conscious advocates.

Selby emphasized scientists have already told the public the events that are unfolding.

"We know what's happening," said Selby. "The scientific debate is over. Now what are you going to do about it?"

Alci RengifoComment