In this review by Juan Ignacio Arroyo you will find some interesting topics to reflect on after seeing him.
How far did we go? How much damage did we do? Can we fix it? 97% of the scientific community agrees that there is climate change. However, the lobby and corporate interests prioritize the short-term economic benefit over the deterioration of our system.
THE MORE I LEARN, THE LESS I KNOW
I’m going to make a DiCaprio phrase my own: “The more I learned about the problem and everything that contributes to the problem, the more I realized how much I don’t know.”
The complexity of the problem makes it not easy to solve. We are facing one of the greatest challenges of our civilization, and if we do not act promptly and correctly, there will be no going back.
This documentary exposes very well the political discussions and the social consequences of our actions. It shows the life of families behind the numbers. There are already entire islands that are disappearing in Southeast Asia due to rising sea levels from melting glaciers at the poles. This is not a science fiction movie, it is reality.
TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY
Within the complexity of the matter, there are two major discussions: the technological and the social-economic. The focus of the technological discussion is on how to replace fossil fuels. The economic-social discussion focuses on the paradigms of production and consumption and on life habits.
These discussions are very well exposed in the talks between DiCaprio and Sunita Narain, an Indian political activist. On the one hand, your country has 300 million people without access to electricity. On the other hand, it has one of the 5 largest coal reserves in the world. Coal is a cheap source of energy to produce electricity, but it is the most polluting, both in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and in terms of air pollution we breathe.
Regarding the technological discussion, DiCaprio asks him to think about the future and use renewable energy instead of coal (which is cheap). Forget that energy enables a country’s development and India is at an early stage in the process, using coal as the United States did (and continues to do) before. India’s priority is to supply its population with electricity and the world must think of efficient and clean ways to accompany this process, not to hinder it.
On the side of the economic-social discussion, DiCaprio never questions the consumption levels of his country. He believes that the habits of his population cannot be changed. It is not clear if he believes that it is sustainable for everyone to consume like the United States, or if he believes that the rest of the population should resign themselves to living worse than they do.
Sunita Narain places great emphasis on this last point and questions the consumption standards of developed countries in general, and of the United States in particular. DiCaprio’s approach, fundamentally focused on technological discussion, is made very clear in his 3-minute speech to the UN, which I also invite you to join in discussing.
There is a topic that obsesses me regarding the technological discussion: nuclear energy. Di Caprio, like many other activists, is against it because they consider it dangerous, slow and expensive. Public opinion is usually negative about this energy, but I recommend that you inform yourself … I started doing this on my own and I was surprised how my opinion was changing. In any case, I never lose sight of the fact that “the more I learn, the more I realize everything I don’t know.”
BEYOND CLEAN ENERGY
In my opinion, this documentary is very complete, presenting the complexity of the causes of the problem, but it simplifies the solutions too much. That is homework and will perhaps be the responsibility of another documentary.
The discussions regarding climate change are more complex than we would like them to be. One thing is for sure: we have to abandon fossil fuels and go to “cleaner” energy. However, it is necessary to bear in mind that producing energy, whatever the source, generates environmental and social impacts beyond its greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, the impacts of producing energy go beyond climate change.
In a context of population growth and increased energy demand, it is necessary – and urgent – to go beyond asking ourselves what energy we are going to use. It is important to rethink and question what development system we are going to feed with our energy system.
“We could go towards a climate transition model replacing the fossil matrix with clean energy, but if we continue to replicate the production model of subjugation against nature, we are fried the same way. There is a risk with the climate crisis, and that is that if we stay truncated In this narrative that the solution is only technological, we may be complicit in the ecosystem devastation, “says political scientist and activist, Flavia Broffoni , in this podcast episode that I recommend to listen to immediately after watching the documentary.