JCL Blog

See the Ice - While You Still Can

I was lucky enough to see the big glaciers in action in 2008 when we did the inside passage trip including Glacier Bay.  If you have not been to SE Alaska - I highly recommend it.

This is a picture I took of the Marjorie glacier in Glacier Bay.

The movie Chasing Ice, opening this weekend in Seattle at the Egyptian Theater, is an incredible film that gets you right up close to many of the big glaciers in the northern hemisphere.  It is a good reminder of the absolute majesty of our earth, and an inspiration to go and see for yourself.

If you are not a documentary person, check out this review by Roger Ebert.  He will help you get past any preconceived notions of this film genre.

Earlier this week I attended an advanced screening of the movie in San Francisco and met James Balog and learned more about the project and Extreme Ice Survey, his foundation that is continuing the work chronicled in the film.  Mr. Balog and his dedicated crew are modern day heroes and people we can all look up to as they work to do something for us and for our planet.  

You just may find yourself feeling like you would like to do something for the cause after watching the film.  If so, there is a donate button on the Extreme Ice Survey website -- making it super easy to take action.  


The Sum of the Parts

The week is only half over and I can already say it has been one of the best weeks of the year for me.  I had the chance to spend the last two days with a small group of very smart and motivated people talking about how the documentary film business is evolving and to think out loud about how films could be used to change the world.  

As we wrapped up yesterday afternoon, many of the participants somewhat sheepishly mentioned to me that they didn’t feel like they contributed as much as they got back.  I say sheepishly because the people involved are not ones to shy away from contributing. This leads me to think about how collective impact (outside of the not for profit world this is sometimes called collective action) works and how systems can be created where each participant does not feel overwhelmed or over taxed, but everyone together accomplishes great things.

Fortunate people have been on small teams that work together well and make great things happen with a level of effort that may be great but never seems painful.  In my experience, those groups have been small.  What would happen if that same ease of working together, trendier people would use the word “synergy” here, could be expanded to thousands or even millions of people? If this could happen, we just might be able to change the world.  

We have some pretty big problems to face and it is going to take something like this to stare them down.  No matter your political stripes, pollution, population, healthcare and wealth distribution are some big issues that are influenced by extremely complex systems.  What if each of us only needs to do one little thing, but by working together could change things dramatically?  

A recently study reported that 75% of people that watched the movie “Food Inc.” changed their eating behavior. Films just might be a big part of building a system that would reverse some of the unbelievably bad trends we see today.

The dark side of collective action is already at work ensuring that our appetite for fuel and french fries always increases.  We live in a system -- and I think we can change it.  We can be part of a world where the result of our collective action is greater than the sum of our individual contributions.

Stay tuned for more of this thinking.  Until then, check out these films:  

The Midway Film by Chris Jordan

Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski