Before the Flood, the new feature-length documentary from Leonardo DiCaprio, has been available free to watch for the past few days. If you've got the time then I highly recommend sitting down to watch the whole thing here.
If you're after the cliff notes, we've compiled a list of our favourite moments from the film.
Dicaprio sits down with Harvard economics professor and Republican Gregory Mankiw to talk about the political aspect of climate negotiations:
“Politicians, whether we call them elected leaders, are really elected followers. They do what the people want them to do…. We need to preach to the American people. Once the people are convinced the politicians will fall in line.”- Gregory Mankiw
This resonates for us because ultimately it's true. Politicians don't get elected (or re-elected) without a majority vote. In essence the Government is for the people and so it's up to us to let our leaders know that they must act on climate change now.
Keeping on the political note, we loved this one from Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine,
"The ocean is not Republican and it's not Democratic, all it knows how to do is rise."
Professor Gidon Eshel
Gidon Esehl is a professor of environmental science and physics at Bard College in New York. In 2014 he released a study that found that beef has 10 times the environmental impact of any other form of livestock. So naturally Leo and his team turned to Gidon to chat about the animal agriculture business and how it links to climate change.
"Of all the reasons for tropical deforestation, the foremost is beef. Beef is one of the most inefficient use of resources on the planet. In the U.S., 47 percent of land is used for food production and, of that, the lion's share is just to grow feed for cattle. The things that we actually eat—fruit, vegetables, nuts—it's a percent. Most importantly, cows produce methane. And methane is a powerful greenhouse gas … About 10-12 percent of total U.S. emissions is due to beef. It's staggering … Maybe not everyone is ready to eat tofu 24/7. I get that. But even if you just have to have some flesh between your teeth, if you switch to chicken, you will have eliminated 80 percent of what you emit, depending on where you are coming from."
We've spoken a lot about the environmental impacts about the animal-agriculture industry, the iconic documentary Cowspiracy, and how to become a vegetarian if you really, really love meat – so it was fantastic to see that diet was considered in the film.
Sunita is the director of the Centre for Science and Environment in India and her conversation with Dicaprio beautifully portrays the conundrum of developing nations and their relationship to energy.
In a country that country where energy access is as much a challenge as climate change, Sunita points out that it's hypocritical for those in the West to simply say, let's help the developing world from making the same mistakes that we did.
"I'm sorry to say this and I know you're American, so please don't take this the wrong way, but your consumption is really going to put a hole in the planet. I think that's the conversation we need to have. I'll show you charts from this perspective. [Shows page from a book]. Electricity consumed by one American at home is equivalent to 1.5 citizens of France, 2.2 citizens of Japan and 10 citizens of China, 34 of India and 61 of Nigeria. Why? Because you're building bigger, you're building more and using much more than before. The fact is we need to put the issue of lifestyle and consumption at the centre of climate negotiations."
This speaks directly to the heart of what we do at 1 Million Women. We're empowering women and girls around the world to live a life with the lowest possible carbon footprint, and then to transition to net-zero emissions by offsetting the rest. If you'd like to start living pollution-free you can take our free carbon challenge.
Barack Obama The amazing thing about this film was the access that Dicaprio and his team were granted to people of prominence. Dicaprio spent time with President Barrack Obama to discuss this views on The Paris Agreement
"[Paris] creates the architecture. I was happy with that. The targets set in Paris are nowhere near enough, compared to what the scientists tell us we need to solve this problem. But if we can use the next 20 years to apply existing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and then start slowly turning up the dials as new technologies come online and we have more and more ambitious targets each year, then we're not going to completely reverse the warming that now is inevitable, but we could stop it before it becomes catastrophic … Even if someone came in [to the White House] denying climate science, reality has a way of hitting you on the nose if you're not paying attention and I think the public is starting to realize the science, in part because it is indisputable."
Some of the best musings come from the award-winning actor, especially as he questions his own validity to speak on climate change (something we've considered in the past).
"My footprint is probably a lot bigger than most people's.
"…There are times when I question, what is the right thing to do? There are over a billion people out there without electricity, and they want lights, they want heat, they want the lifestyle we've had for the last hundred years
…If we're going to solve this problem, we all have a responsibility to set an example"
…And more than that, to help the developing world transition before it's too late."
"Imagine the world right now if we'd taken the science of climate change seriously back then. Since then our population has grown by five billion people and counting. The problem has become more difficult to solve."- .
On political leaders, "If you don't believe in climate change, you don't believe in facts, and science, and empirical truths….And, in my humble opinion, [you] should not be allowed to hold public office."
On moving forward, "Every single light that you see has to be completely different—has to come from a new power source. We need to build all those things differently. All the cars that are on the road need to be different. This is one city. If you zoom out to a map of the world at night, you see electrification all over the world. And we're fighting powerful fossil fuel interests who basically want to keep doing business as usual. How are we possibly going to turn all this around?"
Before the flood is a must-watch.
Read this next: 4 ways to help you partner develop planet-friendly behaviours
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