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09:16 PM October 30th, 2016

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By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, October 30th, 2016 09:16 PM

Have you watched the riveting film “Before The Flood”? It premiered yesterday, October 30, and is aired on the National Geographic Channel starting October 30 until November 6 in 171 countries and 45 languages.

With this documentary, co-producers UN Messenger of Peace, movie star, philanthropist and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens, Academy awards-winning film maker, hope to awaken humanity and propel all of us to step up actions to stop climate change through solutions that are within reach. Among these is veering away from the climate change causing greenhouse fossil fuels such as coal and oil through shifting to renewable energy and carbon tax.

DiCaprio investigates in five continents and the Arctic the rapid and alarming changes taking place as a result of global warming. The sites include the Great Canadian Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, where Suncor Energy produces 350,000 gallons of synthetic crude oil through a process that emits greenhouse gases and wreaks havoc on local ecosystems; Sumatra, in Indonesia, where palm oil farmers are burning oxygen-producing rain forest habitat at an alarming rate, releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere; and the Central Pacific island Republic of Kiribati, which faces an uncertain future due to rising sea levels.

The vast nations of China and India were also on the filmmakers’ must-see lists. “China is the largest emitter of carbon in the world right now, so we wanted to talk to people there,” says Stevens. “And then we wanted to get the story in India, because of its growing population.

New Delhi is the most polluted city in the world and we wanted to see how they are responding to the issue of climate change.”

By far the most difficult scenes to shoot were in the forbidding terrain north of the Arctic Circle, first on Canada’s Baffin Island and then in Greenland, where rapid ice melts provide startling evidence of how quickly the climate is changing.

In the film, Leonardo DiCaprio engages with some of the most influential people of the millennium: Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, and the former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and environmental leaders. They include Sunita Narain, an Indian environmentalist and long-time proponent for sustainable development; Lindsey Allen of the Rainforest Action Network; Professor Johan Röckstrom of Stockholm University; astronaut and scientist Piers Sellers; Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann; and Dr. Jason Box, former lead author of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual State of the Climate report for Greenland.

“Climate change is the most fundamental threat facing our planet,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “We must work together as a collective voice to demand major action now. Our very survival depends on it. This documentary translates the symptoms and solutions of climate change before information is distorted, as it often is, by those with a financial interest in fossil fuel production.”

DiCaprio walks the talk. He founded in 1998 Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) awarded $15.6 million this year for wildlife and habitat conservation, to aid in the defense of indigenous rights, and to support innovative grass roots efforts aimed at combating climate change and solving complex environmental issues.

The LDF bats for 100% climate literacy by 2020, declaring that the impacts of climate change affect every person on our planet, particularly our younger generations. To promote true climate equity and literacy among all, LDF recommends workforce training, adaptation measures for vulnerable communities, and mandatory environmental education.

In his acceptance speech for winning the Oscar’s Best Actor Award for his portrayal in “The Revenant,” Di Caprio told the world that “Climate change is real, it is the most urgent threat facing our species,” and for us not to take this planet for granted.

This coming Friday is the big day that we have been waiting for. There is no turning back for the massive global action to fight climate change. On November 4, the historic Paris Agreement, the first globally binding climate treaty, will enter into force, now that the threshold of 86 State Parties of the 197 Parties who signed the Convention in April this year, have ratified the same.

As the Philippines, one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, has yet to ratify it, Aksyon Klima, Green Thumb Coalition and Oxfam are leading an online petition for everyone’s full support and urge the government “to ratify the Paris Agreement and stand with Filipinos and other people all over the world, who are suffering the most from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and other impacts of climate change.”

The petitioners urge the Philippine government, headed by President Rodrigo Duterte, to show leadership on behalf of the poorest, lowest-emitting and most climate-vulnerable countries that are bearing the brunt of climate change impacts even though they are historically least responsible for causing it, by supporting the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Log on at https://act.oxfam.org/asia/philippines-ratify and be one with the rest of the world in fighting the most severe threat to our survival in our only home planet.

As the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, at the same time, addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all.”

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