Lately, I’ve been on a polar regions kick. By polar regions I mean the arctic north and the south pole. The arctic is considered the area north of the arctic tree line. I guess I have been most intrigued by the extreme weather temperatures and the ice. Photographers can capture ice forms amazingly. While I am no expert by any means, I am learning more and more all the time about the beauty of polar regions and how climate change is negatively affecting those ecosystems.
I think it’s pretty well set in stone (not debatable), that the polar ice is being depleted. Whether that is due to “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever, its happening and its being documented. If the world is kept in balance by a variety of factors, the polar ice has to be one of them. If the polar ice is depleted to a dangerous level, who knows what the effect will have on the rest of the planet. It could be catastrophic. While that is looking at the problem from a bigger lens, you can also look at the problem from a smaller lens, the effect that the depletion of ice has on the animals and indigenous peoples of the region. There is a lot at stake and I believe it’s important to keep polar regions at the forefront of our minds.
Recently I watched three documentaries on Netflix. The first was Into the Cold: A Journey to the Soul. Netflix poses it as, “This poetic documentary captures environmental activist Sebastian Copeland’s grueling two-month trek on foot to the North Pole, a tour de force of human perseverance commemorating Adm. Robert Peary’s 1909 expedition.” I really enjoyed this documentary. My most prominent memory of it was when Sebastian was talking about how lucky he was for being able to make the trek 100 years after the first man to do it. He spoke about how perhaps in another 100 years, the journey will likely be impossible because the ice cap will be so depleted that walking there will be a something that was only possible at some point in history. Here’s the trailer:
Intriguing fact: At the North Pole, the sun rises once each year and sets once each year. There are six months of continuous daylight and six months of continuous night.
Next, I watched Encounters at the End of the World which I didn’t find quite as intriguing but was interesting in that it focused on Antarctica and the little quirky societies that flourish there. “Filmmaker Werner Herzog takes you on a wild and woolly journey to the South Pole in this Oscar contender — from the National Science Foundation’s headquarters on Ross Island to some of Antarctica’s most remote and dangerous terrain” -Netlix. It was made by the same guy who did Grizzly Man. He’s an odd fellow but his voice is so good for a documentary. I especially enjoyed seeing actual scientists at work; interesting to see them in action and the studies that consume their lives. Made me wish I went down the science route.
Intriguing fact: If all the ice in the polar regions melted, the ocean would rise about 224 feet.
Finally, I watched Chasing Ice which was definitely the most visually stimulating documentary in my opinion. The shots they capture of the giant ice forms of translucent blue are otherworldly. “Environmental photographer James Balog deploys time-lapse cameras to capture a record of the world’s changing glaciers, compressing years into seconds to illustrate how these ice mountains are disappearing at a breathtaking rate.” -Netflix. While I did definitely perceive the main complaint of this film, that being the arrogance of the man featured in the documentary, I still felt his genuine passion for the subject and found him in the end to be a great advocate for the world’s ice.
If anyone out there watches any of these, let us know what you thought. Or if you want to do something to support the polar regions, let me know, let’s do something about this! I don’t know, maybe we could start a club. Only half joking.