In his compelling, unsettling and visually stunning documentary, The Human Element, National Geographic photographer James Balog shows viewers why we, as a society, can no longer turn a blind eye to the drastically changing world around us. After watching how our planet is essentially crumbling before our eyes, his closing words are crystal clear:
“Today, truth and evidence matter more than ever. The visual evidence shows that people are changing the other elements fast. …Our deeds are leaving their imprint in the fabric of time. …It’s up to us to make the right choices.”
“This collection of powerful images provide concrete and compelling proof.”
This past year has set records with the increasing number of devastating natural disasters that have ravaged our nation. Roaring wildfires incinerate the West Coast, while the Eastern gulfs slowly succumb to rising sea levels. We see jarring images on the news, showing how families desperately flea from their homes. Unyielding fires and floods are becoming the new normal. We rally for charitable donations and offer support in times of crisis, but then life goes on for the majority of the population and we forget. Until it happens again.
Balog brilliantly captures how the elements erode the Earth over days, months, and years. The documentary begins with time lapse cameras that he set-up in 2005 as part of the Extreme Ice Survey. His footage documented how ice retreated over time. Billions of tons of glaciers melt away into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise. Ultimately, increased sea levels start consuming our land.