I recently saw the photography-cum-climate change documentary Chasing Ice. Though I knew what to expect – visions beautiful in their presentation but horrific in their implication – I still came away wondering how any thinking person could deny the evidence of their eyes: glaciers and ice caps around the world are melting at an alarming and unprecedented rate. Though it is not necessarily logical, many climate change deniers refute the conclusion drawn by 99+% of climatologists and atmospheric scientists: climate change is real and yes, Wilma, we are to a great extent, the ones causing it. But to see a film such as Chasing Ice and not be moved by what it all means implies a persona impervious to both logic and feeling, rigid in its ideological sureness.
So it is both sobering and heartening to see a person moved to tearful change after watching the movie. Though I am happy for her maturation, I would so love to see any number of politicians – who are actually being paid by us to facilitate change – see the movie and openly declare their change of heart and mind. Instead, dutiful to their stolid and unmovable beliefs, many will likely pass on the opportunity to grow up.
When did it become an acceptable part of being an adult to permit beliefs to trump facts? We are all entitled to believe what we may. But truly we cannot have our own facts. The true sign of growing as an individual – and by extension, as a society, a culture – is to evolve. Changing one’s mind is not necessarily flip-flopism. Not if the mind is changed by an uncalculating maturation, a progression that pushes surety aside, permits new information in, balances and weighs, and says “things change, and so does my mind!”
Because truly, things do change. And the changes that we – or our children – may witness would be big, if not catastrophic. Imagine Venice drowned, New York inundated, the Maldives no more, coastal areas everywhere flooded, super storms the norm, increased desertification, longer and more intense fire seasons. The economic costs are already adding up, the future human costs unimaginable. And the age-old expression is ever-true today: “Time and tide wait for no one.”
Next post: Things you can actually DO to help the climate change crisis
As the principal of Clayhaus Photography, Jeff Clay specializes in fine-art landscape, architecture, and travel images. He also does portrait and event photography as a partner in Perfect Light Studios. Finally, with a background in information technology and project management, and as sole proprietor of Clayhaus Consulting, he works with non-profits and small businesses to help implement Internet and social media campaigns. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his wife, Bonnie and their three wild and crazy retrievers.