Baltazar Ushca, the last iceman of Ecuador, climbs Chimborazo higher than he has since he was a boy to collect the ice from the glacier so that he may sell it at the markets below. Glacial Balance is a documentary film that reveals the truth of the Andean Glaciers and the South American communities that are shrinking along with them.
Documentary filmmaker, Ethan Steinman, takes his camera and treks the Andean Glaciers traveling through the countries of Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. He documents the work of ice core expert, Dr. Lonnie Thompson along with the local communities that are faced with the very real present effects of glacial change, such as the disappearing water supplies, and the conflicts that it causes between communities. Effects that we in America think are either impossible, in the too distant future, or simply inapplicable to us. Glacial Balance educates on such a superior level that after watching it, I was immediately googling how communities could adapt to decreasing water supplies.
If you're like me, you usually don't say or write glaciers and South America in the same sentence. Now, I cannot think of South America without thinking of its glaciers. Glacial Balance leaves you with the sobering thought of what South America will be like without them. On second thought…how will the United States be affected and how would we adapt? Climate change is happening. Glacial Balance challenges us to think ahead and start a dialogue as to what our communities worldwide need to do to adapt to it.
Ethan Steinman will be screening Glacial Balance in Schenectady, New York at Union College on October 24, 2013 at the Olin Auditorium. He will be holding a Q&A afterwards.