Before the Flood, an outstanding environmental documentary made by a passionate advocate, the United Nation’s Messenger for Peace and Academy Award winning American actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio and Academy award winning American actor, director, producer and writer Fisher Stevens, is a stirring, motivating informative call to action on climate change.
Leonardo DiCaprio is not new to learning about the environment, he has been self educating himself for over sixteen years now, ever since he was Chairman of the Earthfair in 2000. Fisher Stevens said “Leo has a very good knowledge of a lot of these issues, but I think there was also a lot he learned — and certainly that I learned — on this journey,” observed Stevens. “He’s the perfect person to take people through what this issue really is about because he’s incredibly charismatic and he cares very deeply.” he said.
Contacting Stevens to collaborate with him and to invest his life and money from his foundation in making the film in the late winter of 2014, DiCaprio shared his thoughts that “Time is not a luxury we have.”
“Our natural world is quickly nearing unprecedented, irreversible and catastrophic change that threatens the very future of humankind. I didn’t want the film to scare people, or present them with statistics and facts that they already know, 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” DiCaprio said.
Acting as our eyes and ears, Leonardo DiCaprio talking to us all as an everyman, travelled to Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia and the Arctic Circle, to explore the topic of climate change fully. He talked to people from all walks of life, discovering and discussing the issues we must all address today in order to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet, due to climate change tomorrow.
He has shared his findings with the world. Before the Flood is now available free to everyone on You Tube
Many people with great credentials were part of the making of this well-balanced superbly photographed and powerfully produced fact document about the future of the earth, one that presents the facts succinctly as it should, and clearly.
His trip to the Arctic Circle, the air conditioning for the northern hempisphere, he learned from Dr Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, that by 2040 he will be able to sail over where the Arctic used to be in summer. When the ice melts its going to change weather patterns dramatically. The biggest transformation of our environment ever.
In China we discover they do believe in climate change, because their everyday lives are being affected by it right now.
It was the story about the image of a unique sixteenth century work of art The Garden of Earthly Delights painted by artist Hieronymus Bosch, born Jeroen Anthonissen van Aken (c. 1450 – August 9, 1516) that his father hung above his crib as a baby, that helped motivate Leonardo DiCaprio as an adult and actor, to harness his celebrity for the greater good.
The extraordinary unique triptych now in the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, is a metaphor for the journey of humankind painted by Bosch towards the end of his life 1505-10.
In the first panel we see revealed an unspoiled ‘Eden’ where ‘Adam and Eve’ dwell.
In the second we encounter what Bosch called humankind before the flood, which is where Leonardo di Caprio suggests we are now. It is all about enjoying ‘earthly pleasures’.
However, it is the last scene that reveals a charred and blackened planet humankind has ruined, which is the one that scares DiCaprio the most.
“…can we change our course in time?” he asks simply.
Before the Flood scientists warn has already begun to arrive, the situation can only get worse in the next four or five decades if we don’t act now.
American Astronaut Dr Piers Sellers, Director, Earth Sciences Division at NASA/GSFC, who has during his career actually floated above the earth and looked at the fragility of its atmosphere and from every direction from space, confirmed to Leonardo DiCaprio the facts, which he states are crystal clear and indisputable.
1 – The Ice is Melting
2 – The Earth is Warming
3 – The Sea Levels are Rising
Dying of pancreatic cancer, so he won’t be around for long has motivated Dr Sellers to think about what he would be able to contribute in the time he has left.
He has made an extraordinary model of global climate change by gathering all the data from some twenty Satellites overlooking the earth. He makes a compelling case that change is happening, whether we like to believe it or not.
The challenge is so big, it can be likened to an ‘ant climbing all over an elephant’ in order to understand its size
We all need to come ‘out of the fog of confusion’, face the facts and really appreciate it what is happening. Dr Sellers believes we can all do our best to consume differently, what we buy, what we eat and how we get our power because it is so vital to the earth and its future.
This is not a movie where we can just write an ending… this is real life and climate change is a reality. On this question China and America agree. Our home has fallen into disrepair. The question is can we change our course in time to make a difference?
Well according to Dr Sellers and the scientists we can. If only we accept the modern science of climate change and act on the information this awesome documentary provides.
Sweden has become the first fossil fuel-free country in the world and has thrown down the gauntlet for us all to do the same.
On a human basis changing our diet will contribute greatly. Simply eating chicken instead of beef will massively reduce methane levels, which is just one of the critical issues. Turning off lights, using public transportation, installing solar panels will help too.
Encourage your family and friends to join you as you watch this vital National Geographic film Before the Flood, written by award winning documentary writer Mark Monroe.
As Ban Ki-Moon Secretary General of the United Nations reminds us, “… climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, at the same time, addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all.”
One of the most compelling interviews in the film is DiCaprio’s visit to Tesla’s GigaFactory, where he discusses with Elon Musk how the world can transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
As Leonardo DiCaprio, a true Renaissance Man one whose thirst for knowledge is only exceeded by his desire for more says, “… this documentary shows how interconnected the fate of all humanity is — but also the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet.” DiCaprio said.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016
NB. It is worth noting ‘the complexity of climate change’s causes — and the enormity of its effects — make it impossible to cover fully in a single movie. Stevens and DiCaprio had to make hard choices about where to shoot to best convey the scope of the problem and the different approaches scientific and political leaders are taking to address it’
Read the Transcript of Leonardo di Caprio’s Speech when 170 nations gathered at the United Nations to sign the ‘Paris Agreement’.
This was a sweeping climate pact negotiated last year aimed at slowing global warming while helping the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Leonardo DiCaprio addressed the assembly calling on world leaders to accelerate their efforts to combat this growing threat.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General, for the honour to address this body once more. And thanks to the distinguished climate leaders assembled here today who are ready to take action.
President Abraham Lincoln was also thinking of bold action 150 years ago when he said: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. As our case is new so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”
He was speaking before the US Congress to confront the defining issue of his time – slavery. Everyone knew it had to end but no one had the political will to stop it.
Remarkably, his words ring as true today when applied to the defining crisis of our time – Climate Change.
As a UN Messenger of Peace, I have been travelling all over the world for the last two years documenting how this crisis is changing the natural balance of our planet.
I have seen cities like Beijing choked by industrial pollution. Ancient Boreal forests in Canada that have been clear-cut and rainforests in Indonesia that have been incinerated.
In India I met farmers whose crops have literally been washed away by historic flooding. In America I have witnessed unprecedented droughts in California and sea level rise flooding the streets of Miami.
In Greenland and in the Arctic I was astonished to see that ancient glaciers are rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific predictions. All that I have seen and learned on this journey has terrified me.
There is no doubt in the world’s scientific community that this a direct result of human activity and that the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future.
I do not need to throw statistics at you. You know them better than I do, and more importantly, you know what will happen if this scourge is left unchecked.
You know that climate change is happening faster than even the most pessimistic of scientists warned us decades ago. It has become a runaway freight train bringing with it an impending disaster for all living things
Now think about the shame that each of us will carry when our children and grandchildren look back and realize that we had the means of stopping this devastation, but simply lacked the political will to do so.
Yes, we have achieved the Paris Agreement. More countries have come together to sign this agreement today than for any other cause in the history of humankind – and that is a reason for hope – but unfortunately the evidence shows us that it will not be enough.
Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong. An upheaval and massive change is required, now. One that leads to a new collective consciousness.
A new collective evolution of the human race, inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency from all of you.
We all know that reversing the course of climate change will not be easy, but the tools are in our hands – if we apply them before it is too late.
Renewable energy, clean fuels, and putting a price on carbon pollution are beginning to turn the tide. This transition is not only the right thing for our world, but it also makes clear economic sense, and is possible within our lifetime.
But it is now upon you to do what great leaders have always done: to lead, inspire, and empower as President Lincoln did in his time.
We can congratulate each other today, but it will mean nothing if you return to your countries and fail to push beyond the promises of this historic agreement.
Now is the time for bold unprecedented action. My friends, look at the delegates around you. It is time to ask each other – which side of history will you be on?
As a citizen of our planet who has witnessed so much on this journey I thank you for all you have done to lay the foundation of a solution to this crisis, but after 21 years of debates and conferences it is time to declare no more talk.
No more excuses. No more ten-year studies. No more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future. This is the only body that can do what is needed. You, sitting in this very hall
The world is now watching. You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them.
Lincoln’s words still resonate to all of us here today: “We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honour or dishonour, to the last generation… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”
That is our charge now – you are the last best hope of Earth. We ask you to protect it. Or we – and all living things we cherish – are history.