Masters of the Arctic Ice, The
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Journey to the top of the world to witness first-hand how the planet's changing climate is affecting the creatures that inhabit the icy Arctic. See how the quickly-melting Arctic ice affects the survival skills of ringed seals, polar bears, and narwhals. These Artic creatures have become masters at negotiating the perils of this frozen world...but their dependence on the ice is also their greatest vulnerability. National Geographic's Crittercam technology provides a never-before-seen perspective on this changing world. See how the resourceful creatures of the Arctic are learning to adapt'from their own point of view.
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Though the work has two foci, it says more about seals than about narwhals. The work captures underwater scenes that must have been difficult to take. The narrator tries to valorize the researchers by talking about what little time they have and how a polar bear came close to their camp. I thank the researchers, of course, but this touch of "Indiana Jones" hype also rubbed me the wrong way. If it's so cold in the Arctic, I am surprised that the researchers often wear the light clothing that we in the lower 48 wear all the time in the winter.
The important environmental message here is that these mammals depend on the Arctic ice and they could die out within a century if humans don't do something about global warming. They got this point across without making me feel hopeless. When internet sites show baby walruses and seals that are going to drown, I feel pain that doesn't inspire me to action. However, this work made me feel that there is a ray of hope and that viewers can be empowered to tackle the terrible problem of global warming.
This work is really one slice of a large pie. The destruction of cold-weather mammals is one reason to fight global warming, but there are others that hit humans directly. I heard that the depletion of the ozone became a big deal because the rich nation of Australia showed how other countries' trashing of the ozone is increasing skin cancer among its citizens. Others have said that if the globe keeps warming up, whole islands of people will have to move elsewhere. This documentary doesn't touch on these direct issues, but hopefully it can inspire viewers to keep looking into this tragedy.
This is a true shame, as it has some of the best film yet of seal and polar bear dens. However, I can't tolerate political lectures when I merely want to study animal behavior and interaction.