In the documentary “before the flood” published in 2016, we follow Leonardo DiCaprio on multiple trips all over the world, where he travels to explore and see the reality of how global warming effects the nature and everything living in it, what critical changes it would take to reverse global warming, and if it`s even possible, according to the newest science?
Leonardo DiCaprio has for many years tried to put focus on global warming and polluting. In 1998 Leonardo established his own foundation called “Leonardo DiCaprio foundation”. The foundation works to protect the last wild places and implementing solutions to build a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. Since that time DiCaprio has worked on some of the most pressing environmental and humanitarian issues of our day.
16th of September 2014, Leonardo was selected as UN Messenger of peace, and as a messenger for UN he had the possibility to expose how bad the conditions really are, travel, and see the effect of global warming up close. On his journey Leonardo visits:
- China; pollution in the air and rivers/waters. The air in China are now so polluted that the inhabitants in towns must wear masks to be able to breath safely outside. A majority of the people in China suffers from asthma and cancer caused by the pollution. China have a million deaths each year because of pollution.
- India; Firstly, 80% of the population in India do not have access to electricity. They use coal and dried cow droppings for fuel. Secondly, they suffer from extreme floods, which ruins their harvest. Lastly, big parts of the forest in India are burned down and destroyed, to make room to grow palm oil plants (soya oil). This happens every day, and because the forest is so old, they also release an enormous amount of Co2 and pollution that the tree-trunks have absorbed through centuries, and while they burn the wood, all the pollution gets thrown into the air and out in the atmosphere, like a giant pollution bomb. The results of one day of forest-burning in India, and the pollution it causes, sums up the pollution released from the entire USA for one-year. The fires also remove the last living-space on Earth where tigers, orangutans and rhinos still live in the wild. Now they are threatened to be extinct, and animal rescue-groups work hard to remove the survival animals out of the burning forests. Soon the only way to see and observe these animals will be in a Zoo.
- Greenland; The ice on Greenland is turning black of pollution, which makes it absorb uv- beams from the sunlight instead of reflecting it. This leads to faster melt-down of the ice, and speeds up global warming. Animals who lives and haunts on the ice are now in danger of starving and drown. Many species in the ocean will also die or move away because changing of temperature and ecosystem. Furthermore, the sea-level will rise, and the cold artic water floods into the Gulf stream and will change its direction. This will affect the life in the ocean and life by the ocean. Temperature changing in the Gulf stream will also lead to climate change in Europe.
- USA; The mining and oil industry have destroyed huge areas of the landscape which never can be repaired. Of agriculture land, 70% is used only for production of food for cows, 20-30% for chicken, and only 1% used for growing vegetables and fruit for humans. This number of cows leads to extreme pollution, with the thought of the enormous amount of methane gas released from the cows by burping and farting.
- Miami beach, Florida; In Miami, they have started to raise the roads to try to prevent flooding. There’s also installed pumps to get rid of the seawater that floods the roads. If global warming won’t be stopped, the sea-level will continue to rise and several places around the world will be unlivable. That again will lead to a large number of people who must flee because of climate change and flooded lands. Naturally, it will lead to a lack of living space, resources, water and more, it could even lead to war.
What shocked me the most, was, to see how much forest that have been burned, only to be used for growing palm oil/soya oil palms. I had no idea that they had taken down so much forest, nor killed so many of the animals living there. Above all, I don’t understand how it`s possible to be this greedy; they don’t care if they destroy millions of lives, extinct several animal species, burn away the lungs of Earth and release years of pollution, for what? Money? What is money worth if you ruin your own home, our planet, and the possibility of a healthy and good life? In my opinion I don’t think people don’t believe in global warming, neither denies it. I think many people are just too selfish and greedy to give up their businesses, since it haven`t effected them yet. It`s no coincidence that the biggest deniers of global warming are the ones that earns most from the pollution industries leading to global warming.
Another fact that shocked me was; as the ozone-shield gets thinner, the sun will overheat the ocean, because of overheated water the coral reefs dies. In addition, the coral reefs are like a giant food chamber, with its vide selections of sea animals and fishes, if the corals die, we will lose a great food resource. Nevertheless, they have also played a huge part in protecting the Earth form pollution. Corals that have earlier absorbed pollution in the ocean, now, because of overheating from climate change, and trawl fishing which destroys the seabed, all these things together make parts of the ocean like a giant cemetery. If we continue to dump plastic, pollute and fish the way we do, it will soon not be any fishing possibilities left. Over 50% of the coral reefs are now dead, and if we don’t take any responsibility, we will kill what`s left of them. We must think responsibility before pleasure.
There are countries that have started to take responsibility:
-Denmark now get all their energy from wind turbines, now self-sufficient.
-Germany actually produce even more energy than the country needs by using solar panels, now self-sufficient.
-Sweden is also a leading country. They invest in, and get a lot of their green energy from wind turbines and solar panels. As Denmark and Germany will Sweden also soon be self-sufficient.
-China invest big in green energy, producing solar panels, electric cars, wind turbines, and are now a leading country regarding green energy. 3, 464 000 are working today in China with renewable energy.
Personally, I don’t look bright on our future. I think people will come around and start to act, but we are way too slow. Our power lays in the wrong hands, of leaders unwilling to change their ways. These leaders speak louder with voices that often get heard by a majority of people, and by the time many of the lower voices break through, it`s simply too late. As people, we don`t understand, or simply don`t care about how serious the consequences of our actions are, because the ones that sits with the power don’t live in the circumstances that experience the consequences. We talk about changing our ways slowly, and sets small goals for a period of 20 years. It seems we haven`t understood that we don’t have this much time. I think we only have 3-6 years left, where we must make drastic changes if we even want to have a chance in reversing global warming, and honestly, I don’t believe we will make it. I`m already considering never having kids, because I don’t want my kids to be punished for our stupidity. If we don`t reverse global warming, just imagine what the world would look like in 30 years, 2047. Overcrowded, flooded, growing deserts, wars about lack of resources, constant fires in dry areas, polluted air and ocean. I don’t even want to live in this future myself, and I will certainly not let my kids live in it.
To conclude the documentary, discuss and expose todays biggest global issues around environment, the future of our planet and how we could still save it from global warming. When Leonardo was selected as UN Messenger of peace in 2014, he travelled multiple places to gain more knowledge about global warming and how it effects our planet. He travelled to Greenland, where the ice is melting horrendously fast. India, where the enormous amount of forest is burnt down every day to clear areas to grow palm oil trees. China, where the air and water are so polluted that a majority of the people suffers from cancer and asthma caused by pollution. USA, where areas like Miami suffers from constant flooding caused by rising sea-level, and areas like California suffers by multiple fires caused by climate change and growing deserts. We still have a chance to reverse global warming. If we now manage to change our ways, stop polluting, invents in green energy – then the climate will slowly but surely stabilize itself again, the pole areas will again be covered in ice, and the extreme weather will stop. We must think responsibility before pleasure.