'Chasing Ice' documentary looks for 'hope among facts' amid climate change
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Photographer and former climate-change skeptic James Balog is the man behind “Chasing Ice,” a documentary to screen at the Elwha Heritage Center in Port Angeles on Thursday evening.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The night will not, organizers say, be all about doom.

No, the screening of “Chasing Ice,” a documentary about the glaciers of the Arctic, will come with a discussion on “finding hope among the facts,” according to the invitation to Thursday's free screening at the Elwha Heritage Center, 401 E. First St.

The 6:30 p.m. movie is a kickoff event for Olympic Climate Action, a group that began meeting this spring.

Member Ann Soule said OCA decided early on that it needed to offer “hope as well as information” about what's in store for this part of the world.

“Chasing Ice” is the winner of some 30 awards at festivals around the globe, including the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography prize.

In the 75-minute film, National Geographic photographer — and onetime climate-change skeptic — James Balog travels to the Arctic, where he and a band of young colleagues use time-lapse cameras to record the glaciers' motion.

Conversation after film

After the lights come up, OCA members and local officials will start a conversation.

Soule, a hydrogeologist with Clallam County Environmental Health; Clallam County Public Works Director Bob Martin; Olympic National Park physical scientist Bill Baccus; retired teacher and engineer Bob Lynette of Sequim; Jamestown S'Klallam tribe biologist Scott Chitwood; and Lower Elwha Klallam tribe biologist Kim Sager-Fradkin are on the panel. Dr. Tom Locke, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, also is expected to join the discussion.

Their topics will include effects on public health, the local water supply, fish and other wildlife.

Lynette will focus on wildfires, a risk he said is increasing as temperatures rise.

Clallam County is among the most vulnerable areas in Western Washington, he added, with its mountains exposed to lightning strikes, Sequim's relative dryness and its many residents living in isolated, forested places.

“The hope is to educate our people” about fireproofing their homes, said Lynette, “so we are less vulnerable.”

The “Chasing Ice” screening and discussion follow another Thursday event exploring local effects of climate change.

Talk earlier in day

National Park Service geologist Jon Riedel is scheduled to give the free public Studium Generale lecture, titled “Vanishing Ice: What Happens to the Olympic Peninsula Water Supply as Glaciers Retreat?,” at 12:35 p.m. in the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Earlier this week, Riedel's appearance was in question due to the federal government shutdown.

But he has since said he will give his talk — representing the Skagit Climate Science Consortium, not the Park Service.

As for Thursday evening's film and panel, “I think there will be open discussion about where the hope is,” Soule said.

Olympic Climate Action is a grass-roots group with no board nor officers; it's just one of many coalitions, she added.

“There are a lot of people who care,” she said.

For more information, see the Olympic Climate Action page on Facebook, visit www.olyclimate.org or phone 360-457-6605.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 08. 2013 6:00PM
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