The Human Element

The Human Element with James Balog

Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Library Hall
A film & conversation for the Steamboat Weather Summit: James Balog explores how environmental change is affecting the lives of everyday Americans.

Following the four classical elements — air, earth, fire and water — to frame his journey in this new film, renowned photographer Jame Balog (best known for Chasing Ice) explores wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, coal mining and changes in the air we breathe. With compassion and heart, this new documentary directed by Matthew Testa tells an urgent story while giving inspiration for a more balanced relationship between humanity and nature.

Join James Balog for a Q&A after the free film screening.

From panoramic mosaics of America’s most cherished “champion” trees to unsettling portraits of endangered species posed quizzically in a studio, Balog’s work over the past four decades has challenged us to contemplate our place in, and responsibility to, the natural world. Now a major voice in the climate change conversation, and operating at the height of his career, Balog is witnessing the most sweeping and rapid environmental change in the history of the planet. The power of human activity has now surpassed all other forces shaping our world.  But how can one photographer convey this? Attempting to document a subject so vast will be the greatest challenge of Balog’s career.

The Human Element follows Balog on an artistic journey to distill this crucial moment in our environmental history into an approachable body of images and ideas, and he further humanizes this story of change by investigating how altering the elements is in turn affecting everyday Americans right now. In fact, Balog concludes, it’s safe to say that humanity is tantamount to a fifth element that affects and modulates the others.  But ultimately this means humans are part of the whole system of nature and not apart from it.  Knowing this, Balog finds great hope that the fifth element, the human element, can bring the whole system back into balance.

Steamboat Weather Summit

The Steamboat Weather Summit brings together weather specialists and meteorologists from across the country to spend a week in Steamboat Springs to discuss the latest industry issues and trends. The conference includes broadcast meteorologists from major TV networks and local affiliates who broadcast live from the slopes of Steamboat Ski Resort. Steamboat Weather Summit is a private event, but this year the public is invited to get a glimpse of the topics discussed at the conference with a special presentation and film screening from James Balog of Extreme Ice Survey.