Documentary: Before the Flood (2016)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio
Director: Fisher Stevens
Writer: Mark Monroe
I’ve been meaning to watch this documentary for quite a while now. What further pushed me to watch it, was my Television Documentary module at University. It was pretty much research, which is what I told myself. But it did count! Another reason is because of Leonardo DiCaprio. I wasn’t expecting him to be producing a project like this, but then again, they can do anything else.
Leonardo starts off by telling a story about himself. This immediately becomes more of a personal story of how he discovered climate change. He mentions how he didn’t grow up around nature at all as he was from LA. He was interested in different animals since he was very young. It shows that you don’t have to be around nature to be aware and want to help it.
It’s now apparent that the things that help us get around everyday are basically helping destroy the planet; and that’s really scary. But because we have started with these things and carried on using them, no one wants to change their way of doing things.
Transportation, the way we produce our food, and pretty much everything we do, releases carbon dioxide which leads climate change. It’s happening right now all around us, and most people aren’t even aware of it because they can’t see it happening right in front of them. This is why I’m glad more and more people are making and filming all of this so everyone is informed and can make bigger changes to help the planet we live on. And just like him, I want to help stop it.
With the amount of influence DiCaprio has over people as a popular actor and public figure, it’s worth using his influence to spread the word about this issue. Others who don’t have as much of an impact, don’t have the access to resources that he has. He even spoke to the President of the USA, gave speeches at the UN and did press conferences to raise awareness. And he is travelling around the world to show all of it to us. But of course, not everyone can do this. I would absolutely love to, but of course I don’t have the funds.
A major example of the result of climate change is in Florida. The streets started flooding and instead of helping the problem, they raised the roads to prevent it and will only last 40-50years. But clearly, not everyone agrees that climate change exists, or that we should do anything about it, which is why this all continues. But where do they think the rising sea levels are coming from?
An interview he did with a scientist showed that there was clear evidence of climate change. He got abuse and death threats because people didn’t believe him, because they’re too stubborn and scared to accept the truth. But another reason why people aren’t changing is because of business – businesses make more profit if they use cheaper ways of production, and fossil fuels are cheap, so the rejection of fossil fuels makes it harder to make money and obviously businesses don’t want that. And it’s hard to solve problems when majority of the congress because ‘it’s controlled by fossil fuel funded climate change deniers’. So if the wealthy people who make their money off using fossil fuels reject the idea, it makes it harder to make bigger changes. This is why everyone else has to start making a difference to show that more people care and want to do something about it!
As the population grows around the world, the problem gets bigger, and harder to control. It’s horrifying seeing people in China who are severely affected by pollution in their everyday life – Beijing is the number 1 polluter in the world. But a great deal of people are aware of the effects on their health and protest to help their country change. Thankfully, the government agreed and have made changes such as changing their plan for renewable energy, as well as having the biggest solar and wind companies. You can see the progress that is being made here. And if such a big country is transitioning, then surely so can all the others. On the other hand, they had to see people suffer before the even acted, which just shows we need to sort it out before it gets to that point.
‘You give people the data, you empower the people…’ This couldn’t be more true. The more you know about these issues, the more people are going to act and spread the word. The media are a big influence on people and we should use that to our advantage.
Leonardo travels to Delhi, India. As this is a less developed country, and could they be just as successful in changes? 3 million people in India don’t even have energy, but even if they did saving it wouldn’t be their biggest concern. They are more focused on making a living without electricity.
Sunita Narain talks about the future and if we have the problems now, we will have them in the future. It is quite funny how she blames the Americans for these problems and even shows the data. She is so passionate about this issue and it’s a shame that they have the major impacts of climate change unlike the USA. They have been the biggest emitter of green house gases in history and they have benefited from it – but imagine what has been sacrificed for that.
There are places around the world where people’s homes are being lost because of the water levels rising and we’re losing phenomenal natural wonders such as coral reefs. Reefs are going to disappear in the next decade. Coral reefs are so beautiful and losing them is such a shame, and I’m sure if more people knew that they wouldn’t see some great wonders of the world because of how we live our lives, then a big change could be made.
Products are a big part of the cause for climate change. The ingredients we use everyday are slowly destroying the planet from the way they are made. Palm oil is in so many products, mostly food and cosmetics, and while it is cheap to use it results in so much deforestation. This is such a simple thing that we can change – we could just move on to natural products that don’t damage the forests. It’s a small change that could make a massive positive impact. Many animals lived in these areas but don’t anymore because of the forest loss.
Beef is another big problem that people don’t really think about. When people promote not consuming this meat, it is usually always associated with veganism and not wanting to harm animals. But it’s so much more than that. Cows produce methane which is a powerful green house gas, from burps and gases they release, but as we mass-produce cows for our consumption these gases increase. For example, one 1/2lb beef burger is equivalent to 200 hrs of using a 60w lightbulb, which is crazy. Think about it – not eating 1 beef burger will help the environment.
Talking more about the impacts of the environment; snow is slowly becoming rare. When I was younger, there was so much snow and I was excited for the winter to come, mainly for the foot deep snow. Now, it hasn’t snowed in 2 years and even then it barely settled. And it’s sad to think that we’re not going to see much of it anymore.
It is even more of an astonishment because it’s so precious. When Leonardo mentions how in the future, he thinks about how his children won’t be able to see the things we have seen because most of it will be different and that’s the tragic reality. And that’s going to be the same for the rest of us. I want my kids to see the snow and have other potential memories. I want people to see this from Leonardo’s perspective where we need to think about future generations and how much our motions effect them.
I’m not 100% sure on how I feel about carbon tax. I think that even if they stop buying certain things, they need a push to buy the products that are good for the economy. Or they could just bulk buy products, or just continue to by the products and pay the amount. Either way, it still seems like a small change that might not have a big effect.
Scandinavian countries are doing so well when it comes to sustainable energy. I’m slightly jealous of how well they live. I’m sure it’s against the law to not recycle in some countries. We need laws like this. Laws which stop everyone from doing anything that further damages the environment.
I got a little emotional when the girl started talking about her island in the Martial Islands – Imagine getting told that your home is going to disappear by the time you get old. And imagine that you are part of that reason someone is loosing their home.
OBAMA! My heart dropped when he came on screen. It makes me so happy that he is so positive and agrees that science that is happening. People listen to Obama, he’s an inspiration to so many and this is why I’m so glad he was part of this. He mentions what DiCaprio did earlier on, about their children not being able to see what they saw. They’re similar in so many ways and maybe it’s that generation who have kids that start to think about their children’s future, who start to care a bit more about the environment and think about who it will effect others. However, now we have Trump…
The fact that he actually met the Pope is surreal. And the Pope cares so much, and it is adorable. There are a lot of people around the world that care about this issue but it takes real strength to spread the word and actually do something about it. You really start to feel for all the people impacted. And as said before, more knowledge, more power. And that’s what I’m trying to do. This documentary sparked my idea for my dissertation; which will hopefully promote this. I realised that this documentary is about a year old, but I still recommend people to watch it.
So, save the world, Before the Flood.