Professor Steven A. Leibo is a professor of international Studies at the Sage Colleges
Well, it looks to be January third already. So I guess enough time has passed since New Year’s to be pretty certain civilization actually survived the infamous Mayan prediction that 2012 would be our last. I suppose that’s good.
But frankly I am a bit skeptical about the long term chances for a community that could become obsessed with an ancient Mayan prediction —that was I might add — not even correct per Mayan scholars — that was said to predict a threat to civilization while ignoring the more and more alarmed warnings of the entire global scientific establishment that our prolific burning fossil fuels is what is really threatening us. Yes, threatening us with the same sort of horror that harbinger Hurricanes Sandy, Irene and Lee already did. Three climatic disasters that were all examples of an increasingly disrupted climate system that will not lessen until we get our addiction to fossil fuels under control.
And yes, I did enjoy ringing in the New Years Like everyone else but it’s hard to have faith in a community that can ring in the New Year while simultaneously acting obsessed with a phony financial crisis. When the real significance of 2012 was that it was the hottest year in American history, a fact that was largely ignored by the media and 2012 was not just the hottest year in recorded American weather history it literally blew away the old records.
And yes, I like the excitement of starting a new year too but frankly it’s hard to be optimistic about an activist environmental community that puts so much of its organizing muscle into a relatively minor problem, the dangers of fracking when the threat is not to how much bad water, even methane impregnated water might run through our household plumbing but whether more and more super storms like Sandy are going to destroy the houses those pipes run through. Or even if the houses stand, whether there will be any running water moving through the houses all. Because 2012 brought us after all not only the hottest year and the year of the super storm Sandy but one of the worst droughts in American history.
But if people won’t listen to the news, follow the science, really hear the so called extreme weather reports maybe just maybe we can fall back on one of the most useful forms of communication a good movie, one filled with a dramatic story, great visuals and great sound track.
Oh sure I know there is a lot of competition there. We can watch incredible musicals like Les Miserable or the Hobbit both of which focus on stories of challenge and survival, excellent tales from the imaginations of Tolkien and Victor Hugo. Or we can spend our theatrical time seeing another film that frankly has not gotten enough publicity, a story of equally profound challenge and drama of extraordinary visuals and sound, Chasing Ice.
Yes, Chasing Ice, that incredible new documentary about one film team’s efforts over the last several years to document the meltdown of glaciers from Alaska to Greenland, an extraordinary story of trying to use time lapse photography to show the literal deflating of the northern ice sheets, giant glaciers that are the true canaries in the coal mine of our planetary climatic stability.
And document they did, allowing the audience to see the reality of unimaginable melting across the northern hemisphere. An absolutely must see film whose viewings are listed at the website Chasing Ice an easily viewable film in locations from Hartford Connecticut To Hamilton New York, From Gloucester Mass to Hudson New York, and as soon as it becomes available for streaming or as a DVD, a film that should be seen in every home in America.