Ice on Fire, a new documentary from producer and narrator Leonardo DiCaprio, is showcasing solutions that can slow down and even reverse climate change.
The documentary, which is currently streaming on HBO, highlights firsthand accounts of people at the forefront of the climate crisis, with insights from scientists, farmers, innovators and others.
Solutions to the climate crisis, the film argues, have predominantly focused on renewable energy. But given that the figures suggested by the Paris Climate Agreement are increasingly looking like pipe dreams, other methods will be needed. These include various methods of carbon capture, oyster and kelp farming, and Harvard-produced artificial and bionic leaves which can theoretically change carbon dioxide into fuel.
While much of the political and economic focus has been on the energy sector, the film points out that drawdown (pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and oceans and sequestering it underground or into new materials) is perhaps the best hope for mitigating climate change. New green methods of power generation highlighted in Ice on Fire include tidal and salt water energy production.
Eleven years after director Leila Conners’ first collaboration with DiCaprio on The 11th Hour, which emphasised the problems of climate change, Ice on Fire instead focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems.
The film visits the Usal Redwood Forest Foundation in northern California, highlighting a carbon-storage project that focuses on reforestation and creates “biochar” to put CO2 back into the soil; Ron Finley’s urban farm in Los Angeles, where members of the community grow food that takes carbon out of the air and is nutritious; Climeworks’ nimble direct air capture machine in Zurich; and Thimble Island Ocean Farm off the coast of Connecticut, where owner Bren Smith grows shellfish and seaweed that soak up more carbon than land-based plants and can be used for food, animal feed and fertiliser.
Ice on Fire finds that while the risks and urgency may be higher than ever today, there are also greater opportunities for innovative solutions, offering a realistic but hopeful perspective on a key global issue.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com