‘Ice on Fire’ Is an Ode to Those Fighting Climate Crisis

Even if you are living under a rock, you would by now acknowledge that climate change is real – unless of course you are the US President Donald Trump.

Science tells us that climate crisis is predominantly man-made. However, scientists also tell us that this crisis can be fixed by the human race.

‘Ice on Fire’ – produced by  actor and Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Leila Conners is an ode to these scientists, researchers and innovators.

This documentary is quite different from DiCaprio's first project – The 11th Hour – which released over a decade earlier. While their previous film focused on the consequences of the climate crisis, Ice on Fire talks about what we can do to stop the world from ending.

Where other environmental documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth or Chasing Ice scare you, Ice on Fire gives you much-needed hope.

Also Read: India, China to Blame for Climate Change, US Among Cleanest: Trump


It is time we put a face and voice to at least some of the people who are working to fight the climate crisis every day. The relevance and importance of the data they are working towards cannot be measured in words.

Through the film we learn that the solution lies in not just switching to renewable energy but that it must also come with ‘Draw Down’ – which is the act of pulling carbon out of the environment. More importantly, it also gives us a glimpse of normal people, people like you and me, fighting from the front lines. It introduces us to fishermen who stopped fishing and are harvesting oysters instead. Why? Because oysters can suck up to 90 percent carbon in the ocean. We also meet a farming couple who run several urban gardens. Fun fact: One urban farm can pull off the carbon emissions of not one nor two but seven cars.

Be it the drone shots of Arctic ice sheets or a journey through the Costa Rican rain forests, Harun Mehmedinovic’s cinematography (also co-producer) is simply fabulous. While it looks great on mobile phones, do watch Mehmedinovic’s work on a bigger screen, if possible. It gives you a sense of what we will be missing if we don’t fight the climate crisis.

Also Read: Climate-change battle: Will Modi spur global inaction into action?


Surprisingly, DiCaprio’s narration doesn't make the cut. Instead of adding weight to the documentary, the narration pulls it down.

“Is it game over or game on?” asks DiCaprio in a straight tone, sounding more like a school principal than a narrator. This could be attributed to my recent viewing of Netflix’s Our Planet series, beautifully narrated by veteran David Attenborough.

Where Attenborough’s voice seamlessly becomes a part of the story, DiCaprio’s seems disconnected.

It is obvious that the makers have gone to great lengths in getting diverse voices of scientists and researchers, but the very first 30 minutes of the documentary reiterates the dangers of climate change – setting a predictable tone right in the beginning.

The documentary does not stress enough about the role of policy makers and government officials, and how the scientists are engaged in a prolonged battle with them. You do not hear ANYTHING about the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris Agreement.


The ‘real’ heroes – the MVPs who front the climate crisis fight. The documentary will make you believe that all is not lost, and how something as small as not ignoring the climate crisis can make a difference.

3 Quints out of 5.

Ice on Fire is now streaming on Hotstar.

Also Read: Climate change affecting developing nations most: UN

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