What Would Happen If ‘The Last Ice’ Disappeared?

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Oct 13, 2020

If the Arctic’s 5.8 million square miles of sea ice disappeared, such large-scale melting would damage more than the wildlife that depend on it. It would also devastate the culture of the more than 100,000 Inuit people who live there, and that’s what the new documentary “The Last Ice,” which premiered Monday (October 12) on Nat Geo WILD, explores.

Filmed over four years, the visually stunning film introduces viewers to Inuit activists, like the former president of Canada’s National Inuit Youth Council, Maatalii Okalik; she shares how she built awareness around job insecurity, the growing regional impact of climate change, and the importance of championing Inuit cultural and language education among Inuit youth. It also features interviews with community leaders on everything from food sources to hunting grounds, as well as with traditional hunters and other advocates who have joined forces to protect their lands from the seismic threats that climate change poses to the Arctic.

By confronting the exploitation of energy reserves and past racist policies such as prohibiting Indigenous language in schools, director and producer Scott Ressler illustrates the Inuit’s precarious position through their strong connection to the land. With ice literally melting around them, maintaining their culture is a matter of life and death.

“The melting of the Arctic sea ice has profound consequences on all levels—from local to global and ecological to cultural,” said executive producer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric 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.”

rn“The Last Ice” is part of National Geographic Pristine Seas, a project that aims to protect the ocean’s last wild places. To see the documentary, check it out Nat Geo WILD on demand. View the trailer below: