2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth” remains to be one of those few global warming documentaries that are shown at least once in every person’s life. Much like the shower scene in the 1960’s movie “Psycho” which is considered to be one of the most memorable scenes in Hollywood history, so is Al Gore Ted-talking how it is man that has truly contributed to global warming remains to be one of the most memorable documentary truths in history. And given that many schools, to this day, still make it their duty to showcase this to their students goes to show how Earth’s environmental problems are still here. They are still present more than ever before and; therefore, an equally more present awareness to it is still needed.
If you look at it, every other climate change or global warming-focused documentaries usually use the typical template of simply stating scientific facts about global warming or climate change backed up by actual interviews from scientists just to make it more legitimized. This is followed by a long recap of the many decades man has been abusing Mother Earth and concluding with a warning to us on how we must change before things are too late.
But is that all there is to it?
“Ice on Fire”, a 2019 documentary produced plus narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, shows that there can be more than just simply following the usual documentary recipe of facts and warnings. That there can be more than just repeatedly shoving people with countless scientific findings, opinions and showing them numbers which may not make sense to the average person. In this documentary, we actually get the reasons and what goes on behind the many scientists’ beliefs and claims on the topics of global warming, climate change or, in this case, the extinction level event (the decrease of biodiversity on Earth) and continuous melting of the ice caps in the Arctic. We are given an inside look at the laboratories were scientist go to test out their hypotheses and we also hand them the spotlight, for once, allowing them to explain their own findings rather than overlapping their shots with that of the narrator’s auditory explanation. This way, we actually feel more connected and provided with more objective clarity with what these scientists are saying since it is coming from exactly from their mouths rather than being reiterated by an omniscient narrator.
At the same time, we finally get a documentary that actually proposes within its 98 minutes actual ways—actual processes—and not just words of advice on how to live a greener and environmentally-safer way of life. We see regular people opting for greener ways in continuing their daily routines and in continuing to pursue their career of choice much like a chef who runs an urban farm for his ingredients. Then we see people opting for more unique ways of going green like the less-talked about kelp farming which, according to scientists and researches, can actually take in a lot of carbon dioxide emissions and, at the same time, de-acidify the ocean. Indigenous communities are even featured with their own ways of going green like with using natural ice cellars to preserve their food and in going back to traditional farming ways to aid in the restoration of coral reefs. The point is: we finally get to see in action through this documentary all the different ways people, from all walks of life, have managed to do so far to lessen their carbon footprint. From big and bold ideas to smaller ones, every act to save our precious Earth counts.
So what’s stopping us from doing our part? We don’t have to instantaneously change the way we live but it’s in our baby steps to reduce our carbon footprint, like with simple recycling, that matters. It’s not only being aware of just how polluted the Earth is or in being aware of the many ways to go green but it is more on actually doing something about the knowledge and awareness one has over these things. You’ll never know that with your one small action to make a change, a greater and better positive butterfly effect was already set in the works for the environment.
“Ice on Fire” first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22nd, 2019 to a standing ovation before being aired by HBO on June 11th, 2019.
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