Photographer aims to change mindsets on climate change

By Jamie Bowen , Staff Writer

Danny Rogers, a senior in environmental studies, only saw climate change on paper, portrayed through numbers and statistics, before attending Thursday night’s presentation.

“I was really shocked,” he said. “I didn’t know that glaciers were moving like that.”

Many students such as Rogers attended National Geographic photographer James Balog’s presentation on climate change and glaciers at the Fine Arts Auditorium. Most of the attendees left the presentation with a new outlook on climate change.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it exists,” said Mike McQuilkin, a freshman in music. “It is the biggest thing that is facing the human species at large.”

Balog’s presentation showed the effects of climate change on glaciers through time-lapse photography. He started the survey three years ago when he placed about 30 time-lapse cameras on 16 glaciers in five countries. The cameras recorded the glaciers for more than 1,000 days.

He showed some glaciers that were disappearing at rates of up to 125 feet per day and about 4 1/2 square miles per year.

Balog also showed that the carbon dioxide levels in the air have risen from 280 parts per million to 387 in the past 200,000 years. The difference between 280 ppm and 387 ppm is the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level compared to the amount at the top of Mount Everest.

Balog said his presentation has changed the view of skeptics of climate change from all over the world, like some U students in the audience.

At the end of the presentation, Balog urged those in attendance to think about the future and make a difference.

“It’s about the legacy of what we are leaving,” he said. “We are talking about the future, what we are doing for the future and what we are leaving for the future.”

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Photo courtesy James Balog

O n Thursday, National Geographic photographer James Balog presented pictures of global warming such as this one of a massive iceberg that broke off the Greenland Ice Sheet, surrounded by lily pads of sea ice at the edge of Disko Bay in Greenland.