Scientific projections forecast the total disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic — the critical cooling system of our planet — by as early as 2040. THE LAST ICE tells the story of the Inuit communities fighting to protect the rapidly disappearing Arctic that has been their home for centuries. Filmed over four years and featuring interviews with Inuit community leaders, traditional hunters, activists and youth, THE LAST ICE has screened at film festivals around the world, including Movies that Matter and Mountainfilm. Directed by Scott Ressler and executive produced by Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and founder of National Geographic Pristine Seas, the feature doc will premiere on National Geographic Channel this October in 172 countries and 43 languages.
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Qaanaaq, Greenland - A hunter walks on sea ice near Qaanaaq, Greenland. (Credit: National Geographic Society/Nic Donnelly)
As the sea ice between Canada and Greenland melts, the outside world sees unprecedented opportunity. Oil and gas deposits, faster shipping routes, tourism and fishing all provide financial incentive to exploit the newly opened waters. But for more than 100,000 Inuit who live in the Arctic, on and around the frozen ocean, an entire way of life is at stake. Development here threatens to upset the balance between their communities, land and wildlife, leaving the future of this region and their culture increasingly uncertain. Today, Inuit in Canada and Greenland are once again coming together, fighting to protect what will remain of their homeland as the ice melts. The question is, will the world listen?
“The melting of the Arctic sea ice has profound consequences on all levels — from local to global and ecological to cultural” said executive producer Dr. Sala. “My hope with THE LAST ICE is to shine a light on the resilient Inuit communities who are fighting against climate change, as their livelihood and culture are threatened by the dramatically transforming Arctic.”
“National Geographic is deeply committed to inspiring and informing people about the importance of protecting our planet,” said Carolyn Bernstein, Executive Vice President, Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films at National Geographic Partners. “We are thrilled to showcase the work of Dr. Enric Sala, one of the foremost champions of our natural world, and share with our viewers this crucial mission and the important stories of the Inuit communities in THE LAST ICE.”
The feature documentary is part of a global, cross-platform celebration of the work of National Geographic Pristine Seas, a project of the National Geographic Society that aims to help protect the ocean’s last wild places. Cross-platform content includes the world premiere of the one-hour special PRISTINE SEAS (wt) this September, which takes a comprehensive look at the ocean conservation program founded by Sala in 2008 that through more than 30 expeditions has helped inspire the protection of more than 5 million square kilometers of ocean in 22 protected areas. From the coral reefs of Palau to the icebergs of the Russian Arctic to the kelp forests of the Juan Fernandez Islands, the special follows Sala and his team of marine biologists, explorers and filmmakers as they travel the globe in a race to save our ocean.
National Geographic Magazine will also highlight Pristine Seas’ invaluable work in its upcoming September issue. Featuring Sala’s iconic photography, the story will examine Pristine Seas’ ambitious new goal: to help world leaders protect 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030, action that would not just sustain biodiversity but also boost fish stocks and help stabilize the climate.
Lastly, National Geographic is also releasing Sala’s latest book, The Nature of Nature, on August 25. The book makes a compelling case for why protecting nature is our best health insurance, why it makes economic sense and why it is our moral imperative. Once we appreciate how nature works, Dr. Sala asserts, we will understand why conservation is economically wise and essential to our survival.
THE LAST ICE is produced by National Geographic Pristine Seas. For National Geographic Pristine Seas, Dr. Enric Sala is executive producer; Scott Ressler is director and producer; Brian Newell is post-producer and editor; and Neil Gelinas is producer.
ABOUT DR. ENRIC SALA
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala founded and leads Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 22 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of 5.8 million square kilometers — an area more than half the size of the United States. Dr. Sala has been the recipient of many awards, including 2008 World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, 2013 Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, 2013 Environmental Media Association Hero Award, 2016 Russian Geographical Society Award and 2018 Heinz Award in Public Policy. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on the boards of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the National Aquarium and Global Fishing Watch. He is also an advisor to the World Bank and other international organizations and governments.
About National Geographic Documentary Films
National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. National Geographic Documentary Films is a division of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27% of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com.
About National Geographic Pristine Seas
National Geographic Pristine Seas is dedicated to protecting some of the most biologically important areas of the ocean. Pristine Seas has inspired the creation of protected areas where marine life can thrive while ensuring effective management for years to come. The project has helped protect more than 5 million square kilometers across 22 protected areas to date and works in support of a global goal to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Pristine Seas partners with country leaders, business leaders, NGOs and local governments and communities, and has established some of the largest marine reserves in the world. Since its inception, the project has conducted over 30 expeditions, including several to the Arctic to study and raise awareness of the detrimental impacts of the declining sea ice in the region.
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