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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DiCaprio to make a documentary on Global Warming

Leonardo DiCaprio. I didn't used to like this guy, in the way that you sometimes just don't like a Hollywood actor for no good reason. Envy perhaps. Or perhaps a feeling that Hollywood actors are inherently 'fake'. How could they possibly be real down-to-earth people with all that mind-distorting money, glitz and glam? However in the last couple of years I have been hearing that Leonardo DiCaprio is an environmentalist, or at least has a genuine concern about global warming. No doubt this will be viewed as being flaky from some corners. However I for one am looking forward to the documentary entitled 11th Hour that he is currently producing, co-writing and narrating. The subject of global warming is extremely important subject matter that has seldom been adequately tackled in film. The challenge of presenting it with scientific accuracy while still be an advocate for action is a very difficult one. Global warming epitomizes the tension between the cautious nature of scientific progress and the urgent need for action that some people feel the challenge of global warming warrants. When scientists finally find out, one way or the other, that we have sealed our fate by burning all the fossil fuels, it could well be too late to reverse. I wonder how long we might sit around, waiting for the inevitable conclusion, with the knowledge that, had we acted sooner, the end game could have been avoided.

Scientifically, it is clear that there is already a large body of evidence to support human-induced climate change, but there is also still room for doubt as well. You can't be a scientist without admitting this. However this should not be a reason to wait around. Even if there is only a 0.1% chance of human-caused catastrophe on a planetary scale, we are talking about the only planet we have. We don't have a backup in case our inaction proves imprudent. And for all you sci-fi freaks, No, Mars is not an answer. If we can't keep this Earth habitable then we don't deserve another planet.

In my opinion, even the small chance that our actions are causing a cascade of climate- and environment-related events that could jeopardize the habitability of the planet should be reason enough to start acting now! Since when did expendable income gain such primacy in the minds of the masses that even the smallest sacrifices in the bottom line seem unbearable, no matter what the potential future benefits? The prudent thing is to spend money on this problem now, because you can bet your life savings that it will be costlier to fix in the future! If not priceless.


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