Do you remember the first time something made you question the world around you?
For me, the first time was back in 2008. I was listening to Miley Cyrus’s Breakout CD for the first time, track 8, “Wake Up America.” I was 16 years old. This is probably the first time I heard an artist speak out about the environment, specifically global warming.
Do you recall the first time someone moved you to change your actions?
What makes Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, Before the Flood, different is that he comes from an artistic background. He bluntly states that he’s not a scientist, just a concerned citizen driven to research climate and the biggest contributors to climate change. He dedicated time and resources to learn about climate change. If he can do it, why can’t I – why can’t we all?
To Talk Climate Change is Risky, But Shout Nonetheless
At about five minutes in, Leo addresses the elephant in the room. He says, “people tune out when you talk about climate change.” Sadly, this point rings true. Politics is so entangled with deniers and false stories get repeated so often that today people would rather tune you out instead of taking action. Politicians would rather play the waiting game to see if the science holds up than take immediate action.
What I found so unnerving is that we knew about climate change since the 60s. At one point they play a clip of scientists saying what will happen, but it has this humorous undertone to it. Leo even says gravely how he wishes they’d taken things seriously back then. Today, 97% of scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. Yet, we are still emitting tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere each year. “The difference now is: we’re knowingly doing this. It’s just on a much larger scale,” (Before The Flood). This is why everyone must raise his or her voices about this issue.
Where Do We Go From Here?
As Leo points out, there are huge backers of disinformation going into the media. Companies like Koch, Pepsi Company, Shell, and Exxon Mobile are working with politicians and think tanks to drum up suspicion because with doubt, comes hesitation. This uncertainty leads to inaction.
What we must do is help spread the facts from climatologists. “You give the people the data; you empower the people,” (Before the Flood). By doing our parts as citizens, we can help the public become more knowledgeable on the subject and encourage our political leaders to make changes that benefit the environment instead of just big business.
President Obama believes that the public is starting to realize this problem (Before the Flood). However, Leo fears we are too slow to make changes (Before the Flood). To help spread the message, it’s important that we spread the word.
Communication is Key
I agree with Leo when he says, “Scientists haven’t done the best job communicating the issue” (Before the Flood). The public doesn’t want to decipher charts and data sets. They want the issue explained in the vernacular, or common language. We must disprove remaining misconceptions in an understanding nature. Education is the key to change. The world needs to learn from the Paris Climate Agreement.
I think that Before the Flood holds a powerful message. Just because you aren’t a scientist, doesn’t mean you can’t do research. Ask the experts and question their sources if necessary. Do whatever it takes to understand that climate change is real and will have a lasting impact on the environment. Then educate others.
While this movie has a depressing outlook throughout, it’s important never to give up. We still have time to act. Reduce your how much meat you consume. Write a book, write a song, paint a picture, or create a movie — anything to make sure your voice is heard. Support politicians that believe and want to take action against climate change. We need to wake up America. Future generations depend on it.
Don’t believe me? I challenge you to watch Before the Flood for yourself and tell me what you think.