Climate Change and Caribou Style
Climate change has been agreed upon by the general science community, however, the cause of the rising sea levels, melting ice caps, and increasing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have been heavily debated. The side taken by many scientists and organizations like NASA is that these changes and more have been a direct result of human activities, such as burning fossil fuels which emit carbon dioxide and methane gas. Then creating the greenhouse effect. Another action that creates issues? Drilling for oil or fracturing. Not only does it hurt the Earth’s core, but it also affects the ecosystem in the land around it. Government officials need to first, be made aware that climate change is human-made and the animals and people are being affected by their unthoughtful lawmaking decisions.
The presence of the George Bush doll symbolized this idea perfectly in the movie, Being Caribou. This is a documentary filmed by a couple who travels with a herd of caribou from Canada to Alaska to study their track and habits in this venture. It seems like they were motivated by GWB and GWB Jr to show them how beautiful the animals and land are. I, however, am motivated by Donald Trump to inform that climate chnge is a human-caused issue, which involves drilling in sites that are longtime homes to animals, specifically in this paper, caribou.
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“Naysayers of climate change, including members of Congress and President Donald Trump, often use weak and long-disproved arguments about alleged holes in the science behind global warming” (Rennie) including that fluctuations in sea levels and extreme weather patterns are caused by natural processes. These “natural” processes increase the sun’s heat and ocean current. This side insists that the human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are not substantial enough to change the Earth’s climate and that the planet is capable of absorbing these increased negative elements. I strongly disagree and insist that emissions of man-made greenhouse gases are the cause of human activity because of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and halocarbons over the last 200 years, the increase in rising sea levels, and the volume, velocity, and effect of fracturing.
Nearly, in the past 10,000 years, “the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide remained roughly stable” (Collins et al). That is “before the abrupt and rapidly accelerating increases in the past 200 years” (Collins et al) which happens to be around the time of the Industrial Revolution. During the past two centuries, an exponential increase in the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere have been taken in by the atmosphere and living organisms around them. In the atmosphere, “these gases trap heat and cause the planet to warm through a process called the greenhouse effect,” (ProCon.org). This is where the term, global warming comes into play, as the heat that’s trapped in the atmosphere melts the sea ice causing ocean temperatures to rise. Knowing that CO2 causes these issues and that “the specific type of CO2 that is increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere can be directly connected to human activity” (ProCon.org) can only lead to one valid conclusion. It’s our fault, Donald.
The increase of the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere makes the overall planet warmer by trapping the heat, making it a world issue. Not just America. NASA stated based on the melting trends, that “rising sea levels will erode coasts and cause more frequent coastal flooding. Some islands will disappear. The problem is serious because up to 10 percent of the world’s population lives in vulnerable areas less than 10 meters” (NASA Earth Observatory). This will eventually melt the polar ice caps meaning a likely extinction of polar bears or now referred to as Ice Riders because they sit on a piece of ice that has melted from its original place. That’s just one animal in the polar regions who we know have to deal with this.
Another is the caribou. 120,000 of them from different parts in Alaska and Canada migrate to the refuge with Earth other and do their yearly 4-month trek. This area is affected by climate change and fracturing, both humans initiated activities. Leanne Allison decided to follow the pack and display to the viewer what exactly the caribou’s journey was like. I discussed the involvement of the George Bush doll, however, would like to acknowledge the clips of father and son early in the movie. George Sr said, “I’ll take the people, let them have the caribou” (Being Caribou) and George Jr sarcastically said “You ever been up there? No, seriously it’s beautiful” (Being Caribou) when asked about the north tip of Alaska that the caribou goes to refuge in. This was in the discussion because the “refuge” has been a spot on the eyes of oil companies for a while and might have started drilling oil in the caribou’s paradise. Yet the video does an excellent job of showing the beauty and peacefulness of caribous. The documentary displays the cruelties of the trip before any human effect, with the impact of bugs and exhaustion. “It crazy to think that these animals are being killed by bugs, diseases, and human decisions to drill in their beloved areas,” Allison said. The perfect symbolism was how Leanne kept her respectful distance and purely observed nature around her. I can’t imagine how it’d be if we all observed it without touching. Being a production major, I looked deeply into the use of camera angles and depth. Many shots were wide to establish the beauty and aesthetic value of the land. Much of the audio was either silent or quietly voice-over to symbolize the peace and tranquility of the animals and the trip itself. The filmmakers used snow to melt down to make water and some of the shots involved Leanne walking through large amounts of snow. The movie did a beautiful job capturing the pure grace of not only caribou but seemingly many other animals.
However, these animals are dying and going extinct as the expense of choices made by government officials who still won’t admit climate change is a thing. Get over it. IT is real and we are causing it so we must stop it before it inadvertently kills the animals, plants, and planet that so much of us love.
The emissions of man-made greenhouse gases through actions like fracturing cause an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the rise in sea levels, and contaminate the species of animals living in areas affected by one, the other, or both. It’s time the global community starts working together to save the only planet with life on it from a preventable, early, onset demise. Leanne Allison realized one can capture that with a camera and she should be commended for her work.
To think that there are some many people who have the skill and accessibility to do more things like this, it inspires me as an aspiring producer to maybe try it down the road. The power of film and media is essential and symbolized perfectly in this film.