“More ice is released into the global ocean, from this glacier*, than from any other glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. If sea level rises, this is where it all begins. This is it, ground zero.”
From: NPR’s Living on Earth
A photographer was one of this year’s Heinz environmental award winners. James Balog’s project — the Extreme Ice Survey — documents the rapid melting of glacial ice through time-lapse photographs from cameras in some of the world’s most remote areas. Host Bruce Gellerman talks with James Balog about the Extreme Ice Survey.
GELLERMAN: Winners of the prestigious Heinz environmental award have just been announced. This year the Heinz Foundation is honoring a wide variety of environmental innovators including a distinguished academic for his work in sustainable transportation, a pioneer in green chemistry, and a scientist who studies the suspected endocrine disrupting chemical BPA.
Awards and checks for a hundred thousand dollars will also be going to several winners who focus on climate change, among them James Balog. He’s director of Earthvision Trust and a one-time climate change skeptic. James Balog joins us from Boulder Colorado. Welcome to LOE…and congratulations.
BALOG: Well, thank you so much. It’s a wonderful week, and a wonderful honor and a privilege. I feel very blessed.
GELLERMAN: A climate change skeptic winning one of the premier environmental awards. Now, that’s an achievement.
BALOG: Well, I’m not a skeptic, and I haven’t been in a long time. Twenty years ago, I thought this whole science was based on computer modeling, and I’m a bit of a technological Luddite, and I thought that if it was all based on computer modeling, there could be something wrong with it. But then I took the time to learn about the evidence that was in the ice cores, and then I got out into the field and looked at what was happening to the glaciers, and I realized that this was not about models and projections and statistics. This was incredible concrete and real and immediate and happening really quickly.
GELLERMAN: In a sense, seeing is believing.
BALOG: Yeah, absolutely. As a photographer, my whole career and as a once-upon-a-time experiential educator for Outward Bound School, and as a mountaineer for forty years, I am quite keyed in to the feeling of experience. You know, seeing things, feeling things, touching things. Letting the vibrate in your chest, well when you are standing at the side of these glaciers and you’re watching huge masses of ice go away, you really get it.
Read the rest of this interview….