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Hollywood against the climate crisis - when the world doesn't even listen to Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence

"Don't Look Up", the new film by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, presents a satirical and poignant look at humanity and the role of the media in the fight against today's major environmental problem

By Dr. Neta Lipman, Angle - Science and Environment News Agency

This week saw the release of "Don't Look Up", the new film by the American director Adam McKay, starring a number of brilliant Hollywood actors (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and more). I went to see the movie this week and at the end of it, leaving the theater, I heard two typical Yorkers raving about the movie. One of them stated: "Truthfully, I think this is a film that every citizen in the world should see."

I'm not sure that this is exactly the film I would choose to show to all the inhabitants of the planet, but it is definitely an interesting and thought-provoking work that presents the viewers with a large two-and-a-half-hour long mirror in which they are satirically reflected along with the world in which we all live and which a great disaster is going to affect.

McKay himself didn't hide that he wanted to make a film about how we perceive, or don't perceive, a great impending disaster, and more precisely, a film about the insistence of many of us not to look up and see the global climate crisis.

Lawrence and DiCaprio against the world

Without spoiling your enjoyment of watching the film, here is the plot summary: Kate Dibiansky (Lawrence) is an astronomy student who one day discovers a new asteroid, which is quickly revealed to her and her lecturer, Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio), that it is about to collide with Earth with the certainty of One hundred percent according to all their exact mathematical calculations.

When? Another six months. So what do two scientists do who made a sensational discovery that has the power to change the face of the world? They meet the president of the United States (a former nude actress played by Meryl Streep), who shows at best indifference and at worst disdain for the pair of scientists, as if saying: Do you know how many times I've heard in the last two years that the end of humanity is near? The president has more important things on his mind than an asteroid that is going to end our life on this planet. She has mid-term elections.

They are sorry, they turn to the media. A rock about 9 kilometers in size is about to collide with us, it is certainly an important matter for the media and we must report it to the world. The scientists arrive at the morning program studios when, just before the broadcast, one of the producers prepares them: "Just keep it light, yes, let it be fun." At this point, Dibiansky loses it: "Maybe the destruction of the entire planet shouldn't be fun?" She shouts, "Maybe it's supposed to be scary and disturbing and you have to stay up all night, every night, crying?"

Don't look up
McKay made no secret that he wanted to make a film about the insistence of many of us not to look up and see the climate crisis. Credit: Netflix

It seems that for McKay, the winner of the Academy Award ("The Money Machine"), the climate crisis that scientists are warning about is something so big and disturbing that we should all stay up at night because of it. in interviews Prepared by the director for the film's release, he said he tried five different ideas that would allow him to make a film about the climate crisis until he wrote the script: "How do you tell the biggest story in 66 million years?" he wondered.

From watching the film, it is clear that McKay is disturbed that the climate crisis is not taking its rightful place at the forefront of media coverage. Indeed, the film serves as a sharp criticism of the conduct of the media. Despite the fact that it has crazy politicians and capitalists full of far-fetched whims who deny reality, it seems that the real villain here is the media, the one that forever chases the ratings and public opinion and is only careful not to disturb the public with the complex and disturbing truth.

But how do you really talk about the climate crisis in the midst of all the breaking news and stirring current events and conflicts of economic interests? Because in our real story, faced with the challenges of the climate crisis, we still have the ability to change the course. At the end of the day, scientists have a very important role in our lives to bring knowledge, to monitor the changes that are taking place on the earth, the seas, the air and the animals on it and to explain the damage it causes to our world and the lives on it, or in other words, our future.

It seems that McKay made an easy assumption for himself: a meteorite colliding is very obvious - here is a large body and here it is coming towards us and then we will die - but you explain silent, almost invisible, cumulative, long-term processes. Those that have always occurred only now are stronger and more frequent and more powerful and more dangerous and they are created because of the greenhouse gas emissions we produce.

When we look up, we see sky, not a giant asteroid hurtling toward us.

It's all math

Before DiCaprio approaches the television studios, a colleague tells him: "Speak clearly, without the math" and DiCaprio answers embarrassed: "How without the math, it's all math." This is perhaps the constant dilemma of the scientist and his role in serving the public in the crisis imposed on us. Climate experts, space explorers, ocean scientists are people who have built their careers on the basis of learning, deciphering data and creating models that help them explore and understand the meaning of the universe. Mathematics is one of the basic tools they rely on and thanks to it they can say what they have to say. The question "how" to say is the important question.

Don't look up
When we look up, we see sky, not a huge rock hurtling toward us. Credit: Netflix

The media wants to entertain the public and not scare or worry. When the film's scientists come to talk about the impending disaster (one item after the imaginary singer "DJ Cello" proposes to his unfaithful girlfriend, Ariana Grande, live) the presenters introduce them as "Now here in our science corner are two scientists who discovered a new comet …”. The main thing is to have fun and cool.

Depressing, but important

It's not easy to talk about the environment, or science, and certainly not to talk about the complexity of changing temperatures and the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the air. It's not that cool, not fun and sometimes even quite depressing, but it's always interesting.

In addition, this crisis did not suddenly come to us from space, it is something that humanity created and therefore humanity can deal with it with the help of scientific knowledge and tools. The scientists may not have chosen for themselves the role of prophets, they did not ask for microphones and really their "scientific" language is one that is not always clear and simple to understand. But at the precipice of the times, and we are, how to say, at the opening of the precipice, we have no choice but to clear the stage for them and listen to them and the knowledge they have accumulated and the data they have collected and understand what awaits us if we do not act now. Because there is still time, although it is limited, but it is not over.

Hollywood also has an important role in shaping such messages and it's great that a star director like McKay has assembled a glittering cast of stars to bring us all in front of the tribal fire and make fun of our situation today. The film may be an imaginary satire, but at the pace of our lives and the reality of the ratings that surrounds us, it is not completely far-fetched.

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