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Welcome to Gothic, Colorado—one of the coldest places in the United States. This ghost town has been abandoned since the 1920s, but there is at least one person, the snow guardian who still calls it home. For more than 40 years, current resident Billy Barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time.

In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local, Billy Barr who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data.

For 40 years, Billy has lived alone in small cabin in one of the coldest places in the United States – the ghost town of Gothic, CO. With no goals of proving anything, or even knowledge that the climate was changing, he started collecting data about snowpack to pass the time in his isolated part of the world.

When climate researchers at the Gothic-based Rocky Mountain Biological Lab discovered Billy’s decades of detailed records, they uncovered clear and compelling evidence of climate change.

As someone who has had to learn to survive in such a harsh environment, Billy shares some advice about how to move forward on our changing planet.

Winner of the Film4Climate competition organized by the Connect4Climate Program of the World Bank (film4climate.net).


The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

See more from National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase at documentary.com