VIFF Film Review: Ice and the Sky

Photo: Vancouver International Film Festival.

Photo: Vancouver International Film Festival.

Ice and the Sky (La Glace et le Ciel) provides you with the opportunity to learn about glaciers and see how glaciologist Claude Lorius conducts research in the frigid continent of Antarctica. Having known very little about glaciology, I learned a lot about how glaciology demonstrates the impact of climate change and project where we’re headed in the years to come.

Two things stuck with me from the film: The layering of the ice is like pages in a book, each layer telling a story about a different time, climate and age. Secondly, human kind’s signature has been left on these pages, displaying our impact from increased greenhouse gas emissions and development activity. Traces from nuclear explosions can be seen on these layers. Our footprint has been recorded and compared against periods with little to no human activity.

The impact of Claude Lorius’ work along with many other scientists is yet to result in governmental and world-wide action. We have seen conferences, talks and gatherings meant to move towards a more sustainable world, but what we rarely see is policy, initiatives or plans for change. Highlighted in the film was Rio, Kyoto and Copenhagen, which resulted in handshakes, commitments and good intentions, but the results of these agreements are far from the needed work and action for a change in our world’s destiny.

Lorius asks us, ‘Was it all for none?’ leaving us wondering if his work was done in vain. Can we still pay homage to him and many other leading scientists’ work by creating meaningful change now? What should we do to move beyond handshakes and good intentions to action?