James Balog, Chasing Ice
The film, Chasing Ice, has left me with a somewhat melancholy, nostalgic, feeling that has haunted me for the past 24 hours. We as a human species are truly (and rapidly) changing the course of history. We've stepped out of a period of climate stability, and into an unknown. We’ve crossed a tipping point. There is no going back.
The eternal optimist in me asks, “What if human-induced climate change is just a part of the plan? This age of reckless burning of fossil fuels is going to disrupt life as we know it. But what if there is a silver lining for the human race? What if the death, the tragedy, the grave sadness of the most massive extinction of species the planet has ever seen, brought humanity together in a profound way? What if we collectively realized that the destruction, plainly, is not worth it. It might be too late, but even in the deepest despair, it is human nature to hope. It is never too late to taste the sweetness life has to offer, to dust oneself off and try again. There is a better, more enjoyable, more abundant, more productive way to live on this luscious planet.
Perhaps it is all just a part of the plan.
“Yes,” Mama Earth nods, “this is the way things are, I know it is hard to understand.” I imagine her crying softly at the death of her glaciers. I picture her racked with heaving sobs, knowing that hundreds of thousands of coastal cities, millions of homes will be destroyed as the ice melts into the sea and turns into sheets of water, tidal waves, and monsoons. But I also picture her steady and all-knowing, and meditative, as she considers this phenomenon of human-induced climate change with perfect, buddhist equanimity.
I refuse to spend my precious energy fighting against things I cannot control, I can only fight for things like permaculture, ecology, regenerative design. Fighting against something so unwielding is exhausting, depleting. By constantly fighting against something, you miss the very act of living, and that sacrifice of losing even one minute of the experience, the beauty of life, is plainly not worth it.
Like the full moon, for instance, which has bathed my room in beauty each night for the past three nights. I’ve kept my window-shades open so that I can wake in wee hours of the morning to the sight of her beauty. The beauty of a Cooper Hawk that I encountered on my morning walk the other day, who sat with me (he on a fencepost) as we both shared a moment of unruffling our feathers, waking up, dusting off the sleepy morning…
The thing most precious about the film, was how it so elegantly captured the beauty within the melting, the magnificence within the loss. The melting of the glaciers, in a practical sense, is a tragedy. But beyond what is practical for the future of humanity, the images are so full and rich with biology and ecology, that it is breathtaking. The rush of water through chutes and crevices, beautiful water, so full of life. The calving off of large masses, peninsulas of ice, into the ocean, such a magnificent vision. Destructive, yes, but also breathtaking and moving, and energizing. Motivating me into action, yet again.