You've heard about melting glaciers, but have you ever seen one actually melting? A new virtual reality video PSA from The Sierra Club environmental advocacy group takes you inside an Alaskan glacier that's steadily dripping away.
Narrated by actor Jared Leto, the video takes advantage of the newly launched ability to watch a video on Facebook or YouTube while using the mouse to look around the scene in 360 degrees.
"Inside a picturesque ice cave deep within the Byron Glacier, this majestic beauty is actually a frightening reality," Leto narrates as the viewer is given the chance to look up, down and around at the melting turquoise hues of the ice. "The glacier is thawing from the bottom up. The void it leaves marks a tiny fraction of the 75 billion tons of ice disappearing from the Arctic every single year."
The film's executive producer, Molly Swenson emphasized that the swooping, multi-angle Arctic views made possible by immersive video help make an overwhelming subject easier to grasp, and impossible to ignore.
"When you're standing in the middle of a glacial ice cave, watching and hearing it melt rapidly from the inside out, you not only understand that climate change is real, but you feel compelled to do everything you can to halt and reverse it," Swenson, COO of media company RYOT, said in a press release.
The video, released Wednesday on YouTube and Facebook, comes just two months before COP21, the international climate negotiations in Paris.
"The climate negotiations present a unique opportunity to take on the climate crisis and take action for a strong and just clean energy economy," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a press release. "As the momentum has continued to accelerate toward this moment, we've seen unprecedented climate action from not only the world's biggest economies but the grassroots activists who are driving the change."
After going on to highlight the manmade causes of climate change, the video goes on to underscore clean energy solutions that could be used to curb the negative impacts of climate change.
"Stanford researchers estimate that the transition to 100 percent clean energy will save Americans $260 per year in energy bills and $1,500 per year in health care costs," Leto says. "We are moving towards policies that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, promote a movement towards clean, renewable energy and protect our planet for generations to come."