Films for Change : “Before the Flood”

That historically epic night when the long-awaited Best Actor Oscar was announced, the whole world sat with bated breath as the man of the moment, Leonardo DiCaprio stepped up to the mic for the customary Oscar Speech. Considering his illustrious career, one would think he would have a lot to say, pay his gratitude and respects to a lot of people, and he did. But as a closing remark, he addressed a much larger issue that needed the immediate attention of the world:

“And lastly I want to say this:

Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.”

Climate change and Global Warming have been “hot topics” for decades. Powerful proponents like Al Gore had been striving hard to spread awareness towards this constantly looming threat that Businesses and People find so easy to dismiss.

But here’s the thing – When such issues are highlighted by someone with political affiliations, more often than not, the target audience tends to take the message with a pinch of salt. People tend to find prejudiced motives which then reduce the credibility of the messenger. In the light of such social conditioning, Global Warming has been a subject of controversy. While some leaders condemn it as a ploy to hamper Industrial Growth, others try hard to convince it as an actual threat that is ever present and growing.

Also read: The Great Barrier Reef is clinging to life !

Such mixed perspectives have only stopped people from discussing on a subject on which the fate of our planet hinges upon.Leonardo DiCaprio, is the solemn voice that, perhaps, the world was waiting for…

Leveraging his enormous mass appeal, Leo brings to fore some of the imminent catastrophes that we face in the near future. Before the Flood is a docu-memoir which takes us on a journey across the world with Leo who is trying to find the worrying signs of Global Warming. When an abstract concept is shown to you in all its physical ardour, you are inclined towards believing in it. From dying coral reefs to melting polar ice caps, Leo and his team show us a terrifying picture of what’s to come.

Directed by Fisher Stevens, Before the Flood is succinct in its presentation of the problem. As scene after scene of the rampant havoc that humans have perpetrated, pass before your eyes you cannot help but sit up and listen. The objective of this initiative is not to astound us but give us hope that things can change. The team also meets with world leaders such as the UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, US President Barack Obama, Senator John Kelly, Entrepreneur Elon Musk to name a few and becomes our eyes to what they were doing to combat the crisis and bring the planet back to its original health. 

Through scientifically backed research, we are able to see in simple terms what a slight rise in the average temperature could do to our planet. If the temperature rises by 4 degrees celsius, Earth could well become a barren wasteland where crops would refuse to grow as water would become extremely scarce, something like the near future that Nolan showed us in Interstellar. This forms the foundation of the historic Paris accord where 197 nations unanimously agreed to take immediate steps that would curb the rise of temperature to well below 2 degrees celsius. 

The apparently simple agreement had its own loopholes which are logically put forth to us viewers. While discussing possible steps to reduce Carbon emmissions with scientists, the Carbon Tax was considered as a great option. The Carbon Tax is a tax which would be imposed on Businesses or individuals based on their Carbon footprints, to define in simple terms. The higher the footprint, the higher the tax one would have to pay. Unfortunately, there was no mention of any such directive that would help enforce the Paris accord which is scheduled to come into effect on 4th Nov 2016. Leo’s passionate narrative unveiled how lobbyists and Businesses are fighting tooth and nail to prevent such laws from being passed. However, he conveyed a very important message that may well drive change. He iterated that the power is in the hands of the people. If people take initiative and become the force majeure, governments would have to listen and change their ways as has actually happened in Sweden which has now officially been transformed into a fossil-fuel free nation.

Leo’s influential lead by example may not help fuel immediate changes but it would definitely grab people’s attention. A celebrity of his stature has no business talking about this subject. There must be a reason he travelled for several years to see the state of our planet in its true form. And he was concerned. So should we be.

Stevens’ compilation of the whole picture may not be as compelling as it could potentially have been but the evidence is all there. Undeniable facts have been projected as clearly as they can be with one of the most influential voices alive today. Only our own blindness can turn us away from them.

The complete documentary is available for streaming free right here: 

Disclaimer: The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of this film and are not owned by us in any form whatsoever. 

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