I finally had a chance to watch actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood” documentary on climate change, and it’s a well-done and gripping look at what’s in store for our planet if we don’t act. The actor has made addressing the issue a top personal crusade, and it shows in this film.
The visuals are stunning and alarming, and he spends most of the film meeting with climate scientists, activists, and political and business leaders, from President Obama to Elon Musk to the Pope. His questions to Obama in particular seem even more poignant now that Trump, a climate science denier, is set to be the next president.
You won’t learn a lot about climate science as with Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” but Before the Flood touches on the big picture science points and describes the most pressing impacts, including sea level rise, drought and crop failures, and a shutdown of the North Atlantic ocean current with continued ice melt.
In terms of solutions, the big ones preached by the film include eating less meat, buying fewer foods with palm oil, and supporting a carbon tax. Musk also has screen time discussing his battery factory and the need for energy storage. Other solutions are mentioned at the end, such as supporting renewables and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
DiCaprio is an effective messenger on climate, despite the risk of another Hollywood actor taking on a cause: he’s pessimistic but honest about the situation and aware of his hypocrisy on the issue as a global jet-setter. He also narrates the film effectively, putting climate change in a near-biblical context without explicitly saying so.
The movie is free to watch on National Geographic television, Amazon, and other outlets, and it’s well worth your time.