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Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South

September 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South is an exciting movie—part adventure to the polar south with scientists who are studying the environment in this beautiful, ecologically vibrant region—part clarion call about the dangerous transformations happening from climate change.

The film’s website says this is a “science-in-action” film “following a renowned team of scientists studying climate change in the fastest winter-warming place in the world. This documentary combines innovative science, dramatic imagery and two decades of scientific collaboration into a compelling character-driven narrative.”

The film takes you right inside the work of a team of scientists who travel to the West Antarctic Peninsula, where winter sea-ice presence has declined by three months and temperatures have increased by 11 degrees Fahrenheit, an amount of warming six times faster than the average worldwide. You travel with the scientists through the ice in a big icebreaker and in small Zodiac boats as they study how all these changes are impacting whale populations, Adélie penguins, seabirds, and krill and plankton at the base of the food chain. These are regions of tremendous beauty—roaring seas, tremendous ice sheets, sparkling mountains. You learn directly on the spot about what methods and technology scientists are using to learn about the populations of these amazing species, from out in the field to into the lab, which is right there on the boat. And these guys are working hard, nearly round the clock, but still clearly having fun!

Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

This Revolution special issue focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and Earth’s ecosystems. In this issue we show:

  • the dimensions of the emergency...
  • the source of its causes in the capitalist system, and the impossibility of that system solving this crisis...
  • a way out and way forward for humanity—a revolutionary society in which we could actually live as custodians of nature, rather than as its plunderers.

Read online....

Also available in brochure format (downloadable PDF)

As you journey with them on the seas, the scientists describe the overall changes happening in the West Antarctic Peninsula and how different areas they travel to are being impacted at different rates. We learn especially about the melt of ice sheets here that is quickly transforming the environment in disturbing ways. You hear with real passion about the importance of their mission: “We have a sea level disaster facing us. We’re right at the heart of some of the largest climate change on earth, we’re right there at ground zero, this is an opportunity nobody gets,” and “There is a complete sense of responsibility, we can’t mess this up.”

This film brings you an understanding of how these changes in Antarctica affect the life and ecosystem there and the tremendous stakes of this. One of the researchers talks about how with less sea ice, winds mix the surface of the ocean, making it harder for plants to grow. This means less of the small shrimp-like krill, and ultimately less food for the Adélie penguins—which heartbreakingly may disappear within 10 years because of these changes. And you are taken beyond this—to the ways the Antarctic ice system interacts with the world system and its melting is further impacting world climate. You learn about the ways world climate is driven by the ocean system. All this is told in a living and fascinating way, but at the same time with an urgency that helps you see the need to stop this destruction.

One thing I really loved about the movie was the way the research is brought alive and opened up to people to invite them right into it. Again, from the film website: “There is urgent need to improve science communication to the general public. Too often research narratives fail to illustrate the excitement, challenges and passion required to explore the planet.”

This is a movie I highly recommend. I found it on Netflix. You can learn a lot, be inspired and also moved into saving our planet.



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