I attended the Environmental Film Series on Tuesday, January 28 in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering & Chemical Building as an academic event. The Series played Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest documentary called Ice on Fire about the numerous solutions that exist to minimize or reverse the effects of climate change. I found it refreshing that, unlike many environmental documentaries, this film did not spend the bulk of the time trying to convince the viewers that the climate is changing as a result of humans’ impact. Instead, it interviewed a few scientists who work in that field and showed some of their data and then shifted the focus to the solutions. One of the solutions that stuck out to me involved growing crops for human consumption in large greenhouses. These greenhouses would have atmospheric carbon dioxide pumped into them after the carbon dioxide was separated from other atmospheric gases. Not only would this take carbon dioxide out of the air, but it would also use it to produce plants in favorable conditions for them. Other solutions included renewable energy sources that are not as well-known as solar and wind, like tidal energy from the oceans.
After the showing of the film, Tom Darrah, a professor in the earth sciences department, spoke on his thoughts of the film. I appreciated his perspective as someone who has been a professional in the field for a while. One point that he brought up is how necessary it is to make the public aware of the potential solutions to climate change that exist, however, he thought many of the solutions mentioned in the documentary were rather fantastical and their effectiveness was likely over-embellished when you think of the change we need on a global scale.
Even though most of the solutions were being tested in the United States, climate change is an international problem that effects everyone on earth and does not pay attention to national borders. As an environmental policy major, many of my classes touch on the squabble between developed and developing countries about how much effort each country needs to be putting in to minimize climate change. Regardless of your stance in the matter, countries like the United States need to be taking charge on researching and developing solutions since we have been putting out excessive amounts of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, I think it is important that this film put such an emphasis on what scientists, farmers, and other Americans are doing to reduce our impact on the environment.