Taking a short break from the intensity of Olympic curling, I thumbed through Netflix this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary “Before the Flood”. I’ll be honest that I’ve often viewed celebrity backed cause documentaries with some question as to the motive, but DiCaprio proved me wrong with this one…well done.
His lifetime and heartfelt environmental advocacy showed through quite well, and he presented a very well unbiased representation of varying world views on climate change and its resulting impact. He also shed some light on the sense of urgency for us all – the stakeholders of our own planetary existence – to step up and take some responsibility for planetary management. Further, the film was centered around the UN’s Paris Accord, which has been touted as a successful step to engage countries around the globe with the critical discussion surrounding climate change, and come together with a consensus on taking steps towards addressing climate change.
Interestingly however, the film made it clear that the Paris Accord itself was not a solution – in fact it is far from, and everyday citizens should not assume that the governments of the world are solving all of these problems. Climate change very much has to be owned by all of us, and it starts with [US]. Yes, the United States is the critical piece of the pie, and unfortunately is acting as the bottleneck to important environmental change under the current administration.
In my line of work, I’m frequently asked if “global warming is real”. Well, I think the scientific data speaks for itself, and we just can’t hide the data like we have been. It is a fact that planet Earth has undergone several massive climate changes in its multi-billion year old history. It is also a fact that rates of change during human’s short time here are unprecedentedly high, particularly since the industrial revolution. It is further a fact that we live in a closed system, and the system requires balance otherwise mother nature will step in and balance things out for us…as I’ve written about previously – always reflect back on the fruit flies in high school science class. Everything is fine until resources are depleted, and then crash. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that we’re overpopulated, over-stressed, resources are over-exploited, and our net contribution back to the planet (carbon emissions) is in the red. I’m just a dummy diver from the Ocean State, but seems to me this isn’t good and we need a shift in the force.
It is therefore highly ignorant to think that rising tides [the flood] will not impact us within our lifetimes. They already are.
We should also carefully consider that we are not the only advanced civilization that has been impacted by a flood. There are numerous coastal mecca’s from our ancient history that are now submerged, flooded, and clearly show that humanity has had to retreat in the past. So, what do we do? Well, we can retreat to the hills, stand our ground with fortified coastal infrastructure, adapt and evolve to live more closely with changing waterfront environments, or do nothing. Nothing should not, and can not be in the cards with the stakes being so incredibly high – our own survival.
In close, watch the film, but do so bearing in mind that the electricity you are using for the tv is probably dirty and part of the problem, and the handful of snacks you’re munching on were probably produced using industrial crops from farms that have replaced our natural forests, and the plastics used to make the remote in your hand are made from petroleum derivatives. If all of that turns your stomach, then we’ve done a good job, and hopefully you will be inspired to do the little things…
Think blue, go green, and get out of the red..we are indebted to our planet, and frankly not doing our part to repay the debt.