Contributed by Laurel Carlsen, Kendra Zamzow and Judy Donegan
Between Earth & Sky: A Documentary with Roots in Palmer
9/30/2017 – 7:30PM
Castle Mountain Coalition
Glenn Massay Theater
8295 E. College Dr. Palmer
Between Earth and Sky is a professionally directed, feature-length documentary filmed in Alaska. Literally and figuratively ground-breaking, it’s the first of its kind to explore the effects of warming arctic soils on global climate change.
Produced by Dr. David Weindorf of Texas Tech University and directed by three-time Emmy Award winner, Paul Allen Hunton, the film features interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists as well as footage of the day-to-day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming.
A spotlight is shone on the eroding island of Sarichef, home to the Inupiat village of Shishmaref. As the effects of global warming - decreasing sea ice and increasing coastal storms - are felt, the Inupiaq are faced with a disappearing island, a nearly 200 million-dollar price to relocate and an unknown cost to their culture.
Prominent soil scientists, Dr. Chien-Lu Ping of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Dr. Mark Clark, and Dr. Lorene Lynn are at the core of the film. Clark and Lynn are both Mat-Su Valley residents. Their research, which spans over 35 years, underscores the local and global significance of melting permafrost.
Dr. Clark explains that high latitudes, such as the Arctic, act as a storehouse for soil carbon and are particularly vulnerable regions as the climate warms. The loss of permafrost triggers the release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. As Clark says, “The North is the world’s thermostat.” It is in this way that what happens here affects us all.
Another scientist featured is Texas Tech’s, Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian and one of the most respected experts on global warming in the country. Hayhoe is interested in why a changing climate matters to real people, how to solve it and the role of faith in fixing this global challenge.
Dr. Clark says working on the documentary was an eye-opening experience. Throughout the process, he saw how science can be presented to the public in a way that is understandable and meaningful. Filming also gave him the opportunity to discuss issues with Alaska Natives, to gain a deeper appreciation for their subsistence lifestyles and how even seemingly small changes in the environment can have a detrimental effect on the survival of subsistence-based cultures.
Castle Mountain Coalition is hosting this free showing of Between Earth and Sky at the Glenn Massay Theater, located on the Mat-Su College Campus, on September 30th at 7:30pm. Immediately following the film, there will be a Q&A with executive producer, David Weindorf, as well as Mark Clark and Lorene Lynn.