First, I want to say that I’m very grateful that Leonardo DiCaprio made this film. Secondly, I want to say that if you don’t believe in climate change, you’re terribly misinformed.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been involved in climate change awareness for sixteen years. Everything that Leo learns and talks about in this documentary with climatologists and economists, I’ve heard or read about before, but from various sources. This is the first time I’ve seen it all put together in one informative place and so readily available.
Ever since the 1950’s, America has known about the dangers of carbon emissions. From automobiles to coal industries, scientists have been voicing their concerns for some six decades. And yet, here we still are, even in the midst of tangible evidence, large portions of society and government are in disbelief or have been bought by oil and other companies to lie.
Oil companies paying scientists, politicians and other public figures to lie about the impact of carbon on the environment is nothing new. When the metallic element lead was still in gasoline, lead companies paid a few scientists huge amounts of money to lie about or fake studies to dissuade the American people and politicians from banning their product of profit.
It wasn’t until many people began having serious health issues and were dying from lead exposure did opposing politicians finally cave to the growing voice of outrage from honest scientists and the public towards lead being used in fuel.
Just as it did 50 years ago, we are suffering from the consequences of doing nothing substantial about a growing threat effecting our health and our lives. Not just in the U.S., but a global threat.
For months I’ve been listening more closely to well-known scientists talk to other scientists who work directly with studying changes in climate and the environment. These changes being caused by increases in carbon atoms, increases from coal burning, fossil fuel in the form of oil, and natural gases like methane.
The refusal to accept climate change by political leaders is because they profit from large oil corporations who give them money. Whether it be political campaigns or just funds filtered through different organizations until it reaches the politician, their voices are bought. And the same goes for some scientists who trade the truth for large sums of dirty money from the same oil companies.
How do we know climate change is real? Because it is being observed, measured and recorded every day. The causes and the effects are tangible, not only that, but models are created to predict just how bad it’s going to get, based on the data that’s been recorded for decades.
Why should you care? Because this effects you and your children and your children’s children.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2001, they estimated U.S. wetlands were eroding away by more than 60 square miles each year. In 2004, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute estimated that this loss of property results in an economic loss of $3 to $5 billion annually.
In 2011, scientists reported that 68% of the beaches along the New England coast were eroding away from rising ocean levels, as much as 60 feet per year.
This is not just about melting ice and warm climates, this is about massive flooding along coastlines from the melting snow, changes in ocean temperatures and currents causing massive hurricanes, this is about kill-offs of fish species that you buy in your grocery store because they can’t adapt to changes in water temperature or the food they eat can’t adapt, causing the fish to starve.
Oceans absorb carbon atoms, which in high amounts causes the water to darken and become warmer from the increased absorption of sunlight. Dark things absorb more heat, we all know this from wearing dark clothing on a sunny day.
This is about layers of methane once trapped beneath hundreds of feet of ice that was once permanent, now being released. These layers of permafrost are disappearing because of a constant increase in temperatures. Not only that, but ice reflects light and heat away from the surface of the Earth, without the ice the Earth’s surface absorbs the heat, making for even warmer surface temperatures.
Oceans aren’t the only thing that absorbs carbon. If you know anything about plants, you know that they absorb carbon dioxide during the day and use it to break down minerals and other nutrients they absorb with their roots. Rainforests play a huge role in clearing carbon from the air. There are only three massive rainforests on Earth, in South America, Africa and Indonesia. As we all know, these rainforests are threatened by logging companies who burn them down so large crop and cattle corporations can use the land for farming.
In 2009, the Zoological Society of London estimated that there were 1.4 Billion cattle on Earth. That was seven years ago, imagine how high that number is today. Cattle are the largest source of methane gas, which is released due to their four stomach digestive system. Methane is twenty times more destructive to the atmosphere and therefore environment, than carbon.
This threat from climate change isn’t just for the planet, this isn’t even about saving the planet, this is about saving human lives. From catastrophic natural disasters like record breaking hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires, we’ve seen all of these happen right here in the U.S. in the last few years. And it’s predicted to get worse.
Some places will get hotter, some places will get colder, some dryer, some wetter. Climate change is not about one single effect, but many spread across the globe. The way in which people live their lives will be forcibly changed by the climate as the effects of carbon continues to grow. Even if we stop all coal burning, fossil fuel and natural gas production and consumption, the effects on the environment will continue for decades. That’s truly how bad our situation is.