National Geographic premiered Leonardo DiCaprio ’s “ Before the Flood ” documentary at the end of a October, showcasing a personal and relatable view on the effects of climate change, condensed into a 1hr 30 minute film.
Named the UN Messenger of Peace in 2014, Leo has been a voice against global warming and his brand brings the much needed attention the subject needs.
The Fisher Steven-directed documentary has more than 60 million viewers worldwide who watched the film across digital, linear, streaming and social platforms. The documentary got impressive ratings with an 8.5/10 on IMDb and over 12 million views on YouTube. Deadline even reports that ‘Before the Flood’ had the “the largest sampling [of viewers] for a documentary in the world since 2000, and the largest ever for a Nat Geo film”, ahead of what the channel also hopes will be successful – Mars.
In Before the Flood, Leo tackles the hypocrisy in climate negotiations where the United States advocates for use of renewable energy in Africa and Asia; whereas they are the largest consumers of fossil fuel energy. The double standards exhibited by the developed countries in the climate change debate often leads to stalemates and inherently inaction in tackling global warming.
Leo even gets the views of world leaders on Climate Change; including Pope Francis , President Barack Obama and climate scientists and activists. The role of politics and the media is examined in the Climate conversation: in the US for example, where the big oil companies such as the Koch industries fund politicians, media houses and even environmental organizations so as to influence policy and the public opinion in their favor. They even go further to discredit Climate scientists by vilifying them for their “made-up” findings on climate change.
Before The Flood states how Hollywood is affected by climate change; in shooting The Revenant (The film that earned DiCaprio his first Oscar Award) their set in Canada was disrupted by a very warm winter that made the snow melt – They had to relocate to Argentina to shoot the film, inflating the cost for the film production.
The film has powerful visuals with large tracks of the Boreal forest cleared by oil companies to mine oil: Flooded farms in India where they received half the year’s rain in just five hours destroying their crops and rapidly melting snow in Greenland : clearly illustrating the cause and devastating impact relationship all over the world.
Leo suggests that changing your diet can also help stop climate change. If more people reduce their consumption of beef or switch to chicken, they are cutting back on their carbon emissions- in that the production process involved in rearing the cows emits more carbon into the atmosphere as compared to chicken rearing.
The film aims to be a wake-up call to the world to take action on climate change before it’s too late. Through-out the film, Leo calls for the urgency in dealing with climate change.
“As an actor I play fictitious characters solving fictitious problems and I believe man looks at climate change the same way.”
The documentary is available on the National Geographic YouTube channel.
| This article has been written by Michael Musyoka for OYGK Magazine