When you hear about a documentary starring one of the most well-known celebrities of our day and age, some people tend to roll their eyes. Why do they not take another person seriously just because of their career as an actor? Does that mean they are not credible and cannot explore, research and share scientific knowledge in a documentary?
Academy Award winner, United Nations Messenger of Peace and longtime environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio, stars in and is one of the many producers of the real-life film on climate change, “Before the Flood”. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Fisher Stevens, presented by National Geographic and chosen as Official Selections at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival.
In “Before the Flood” DiCaprio sets out on expeditions with scientists on five continents as well as the Arctic to uncover the realism about climate change. On his journey, he exposes the hard facts of corrupt governments around the world, denying climate change for their own gain and in the process, making the dismissal on the urgency of climate action increase at an alarming rate.
Some will be surprised to learn that DiCaprio has a pessimistic view on humanities ability to reverse global warming, but because of this honesty, you can feel the real worry that surrounds our planet due to human behavior.
There is a simple message DiCaprio tries to press for viewers: we need to transition away from using fossil fuels, into cleaner, renewable energy sources for our species to not be threatened by future catastrophic, irreversible events.
“I didn’t want the film to scare people, or present them with statistics and facts that they already know,” DiCaprio said. “But to focus on what can and must be done immediately so that we can leave our planet a livable home for future generations. We are quickly running out of time.”
The recent Presidential elections in the United States were a pressing matter for Stevens and DiCaprio to want to have the film finished and released in the fall of 2016, despite DiCaprio’s intense shooting schedule for Alejandro Iñárritu’s Academy Award-winning film, The Revenant (which you see DiCaprio behind-the-scenes on set more than once). They wanted to show the power each and every person has to elect leaders who believe in scientific facts and have the demand to make progression on the environment a high priority.
DiCaprio does not appear as an actor or high-status celebrity while on camera for the film. You see him as the everyday man who is curious to learn more about his passion for this planet, and what we can all do to help. DiCaprio also truthfully admits that he has added more greenhouse gas emissions than many to this planet because of his travel-induced lifestyle, one he often questions if he should be doing or not.
From interviews with highly influential leaders, including President Barack Obama and Pope Francis to lesser-known, yet highly accredited scientists and activists such as Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, astronaut and scientist Piers Sellers and even Elon Musk at Tesla’s Gigafactory to discuss how the world can transition from using fossil fuels to renewable energy. The concrete facts you draw from DiCaprio’s conversations with each and every one of them, are astonishing.
In the film, you see digital maps of Earth from the International Space Station, showing the ocean temperatures warming and glaciers melting, causing severe threats to sea level rise, as a direct result from the planet’s atmosphere being suffocated by greenhouse gas emissions. DiCaprio, Stevens and everyone else involved in the film prove once and for all that these are not theories – they are all facts backed by science – and who wants to argue with science?
For many who take the leap at watching the film if you have not already, I recommend you focus on becoming inspired instead of discouraged, and head to beforetheflood.com to see how you can help lower your carbon emission footprint and take small steps in your community towards a more liveable future.
“Before The Flood” can be screened through multiple platforms including; National Geographic, Hulu, iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon and many more.
Note: “The filmmakers are well aware that the extensive travel required to make Before the Flood caused additional greenhouse gases to be emitted into the atmosphere. To offset the production’s carbon footprint, they are paying a self-imposed carbon tax in the form of donations toward reforestation of Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem and other rainforests.” – Before The Flood crew
Photo credit: National Geographic and Before The Flood