Lonnie Thompson may not be the most well-known name in science, unless you know where to look. His research into the ice caps which started out as an exhibition to preserve what was hidden underneath, became a lifelong adventure to spread the word about climate change. A professor by day, Thompson and his wife, Ellen, used their research to highlight the ever-changing world and how rapidly the progress was becoming.
Canary is a documentary directed by Danny O’Malley and Alex Rivest about the life and work of Professor Thompson. An image of a professor travelling the world to preserve long hidden artefacts will surely evoke an adventurer of a different kind.
However, Lonnie Thompson’s work contributed to a much wider issue which effects the human race. Something much more impactful than merely locking something away in a wooden box in the name of research.
Those expecting something heroic and daring may be a little disappointed though as Professor Thompson leaves his hat and whip (if he has one) at home and dedicates his life to science. Studying paleoclimatology, the documentary shows how the importance of his work came to the attention of scientists and even politicians looking to preserve and care for the human race.
The problem is that a week is a long time in politics and when the research came out, so did the discovery that fossil fuels were the thing that was causing the progression of climate change. Meaning that multimillion dollar companies were to blame.
Canary shows the lifelong battle that Lonnie Thompson has to endure, but like every good adventurer, a challenge isn’t going to get him down. Exploring his life as well as his celebrated career and campaign to highlight the effects of climate change, Canary gives a well-rounded look at his life as well as raising the issues that matter to him most.
A documentary that may be something of an eye opener to those who don’t know about his work, Canary is a grounded reminder of what happens when somebody speaks up when it feels like nobody is listening. Making Lonnie Thompson the kind of progressive that history will never forget.