"Into the Cold:" Why Trek Across the North Pole Now?


Filmmaker Copeland on thin ice. Photo courtesy of Into the Cold

Because it's still there? To commemorate the centennial of Adm. Robert Peary's first-ever expedition to the Arctic, environmentalist Sebastian Copeland trudged 700 kilometers across the top of the world to demonstrate how the ice is thinning. Less than 150 people in the last century have followed on foot across such merciless terrain. Copeland endured it and frostbite to make a dramatic statement: "There won't be a Bicentennial." His documentary Into the Cold: a Journey of the Soul documents the rapidly vanishing environment of the Great North and the dire results of no polar ice cap. So what happened [spoiler alert] when the ice was so thin, he fell in?
Get a taste with the "Into the Cold" trailer.

Watch the inspiring film to find out. Read Copeland's interview on the grueling details. Here's the point of his journey:

"I had a childhood dream to reach the North Pole. But the reality is that in the next 15 years children who have the same dream won't be afforded the chance. The ice was 12-feet deep when Peary arrived. Today it's only 5-6 feet deep. It's literally vanishing before our eyes and we all have a responsibility to preserve it."

Copeland's film, like his stunning photographic book on his trip to the South Pole, Antarctica: The Global Warning, addresses the rapid changes to the polar regions and its impact on the world's environment. His extreme North Pole trek with partner Keith Heger took two harrowing months across groaning snow, negative 50F degrees, and a vast expanse of the frozen ice cap, with the two having to dump food supplies to lighten the 200-pound load they dragged along with equipment and shelter. Many other issues have captured our attention than the thinning ice caps and loss of polar bears, though of course, it's key to climate change.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend and plays again April 30 and May 1. If not in New York, check out the festival's virtual screenings this week. You can watch it and seven other films, a dozen shorts, panel discussions and Q&As; with filmmakers for the rest of the week. Other films are available through Video On Demand, such as "Climate for Change."

In May, Copeland heads to Greenland to bring attention to one of the most relevant geopolitical places. "Of all the glacial environments, it's one that's most unstable with the potential release of methane gas from its thawing tundra and the release of fresh water into salt water affecting the thermal circulation of the North Atlantic drift. It can have tremendous impact on seasonal crop cycles and storm conditions."

Is this No Impact Man or The Cove eco-doc of 2010?

More on the North Pole:
US Using CIA Spy Satellites to Study Ice Retreat in Arctic (Photos)
NASA Satellite Laser Images Reveal Extreme Polar Melting
Melting Arctic Sea Ice Diluting Surface Water - Threatens Shellfish, Entire Polar Food Chain

Tags: Arctic | Documentaries | Global Warming Effects

Best of TreeHugger