5 Things We Learned From DiCaprio’s New Film: Before the Flood

It’s not so often you see Leonardo DiCaprio in a film when he’s not actually acting, but his latest passion project turns the spotlight away from him and onto the issue of climate change. Earlier this week, we attended the preview of Before the Flood (which opened nationwide in theatres today) just in time before the upcoming presidential elections in the U.S.

The issue of climate change is a relatively misleading term and has been an ongoing planetary problem. It’s a complex and daunting subject that has been documented and researched since the 1950’s, so presenting it in a new light is no easy task.

Here are five important learnings we uncovered from the film:

A global issue calls for global representation: Visiting five continents as well as the Artic, the actor-turned-activist met with scientists, environmentalists, crusaders and an array of unexpectedly high-profile personalities – from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and Pope Francis, to meteorologist Piers Sellers and President Obama.

Time is not a luxury: “Our natural world is quickly nearing unprecedented, irreversible and catastrophic change that threatens the very future of humankind,” said DiCaprio. “I didn’t want the film to scare people, or present them with statistics and facts that they already know, but to focus on what can and must be done immediately so that we can leave our planet a livable home for future generations. We are quickly running out of time.”

It takes a village! In the words of DiCaprio: “It is up to everyone to begin to take seriously the role we all play in changing the course of history (…) the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet.” Certainly sounds like a colossal task but maybe it begins with something as simple as watching this documentary and then starting to figure things out, as individuals and as a society.

Industry icons working behind the scenes: Director, Fisher Stevens – who had already worked on various documentaries, including 2008’s Crazy LoveThe Cove, and the acclaimed Once in a Lifetime – followed a curious, alarmed, and often bewildered DiCaprio. Also involved in the documentary was the iconic Martin Scorsese as executive producer, Revenant’s Brett Ratner as a producer, and interestingly, Trent Reznor (from Nine Inch Nails) as executive music producer.

Change starts now: DiCaprio was named United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2014 and ever since has been an advocate for environmental change. Viewers interested in making a change can offset their own emissions soon by using an app called Carbotax. The app programme surveys users about their travel, commuting, eating and other habits to calculate an appropriate annual contribution “Then you can write your senator or congressman and say, look, we believe in a carbon tax,” said Fisher Stevens. “Because that financial disincentive for using fossil fuels is one of the main things that can help the U.S. move to the next generation of energy.”

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