I’m Not A Fan Of Leonardo DiCaprio: A Critique of ‘Before The Flood’

One thing I miss about home (funnily enough) are my communications classes, where we get to critique, dissect and analyse what’s going on in the world of media. And anyone who’s been paying attention to Mr Leonardo DiCaprio lately (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) would know that he, along with National Geographic released the feature length documentary titled ‘Before The Flood.’ You can check out the trailer below.

Now we all know that good ol Leo is an avid environmentalist. We’ve seen him give fancy speeches at the UN, talk with Barack Obama and grow an awesome hippy beard. Whilst I support the fact that Leo (a global sensation) can bring attention to the pressing issue of Climate Change… I’m not entirely sure that this movie did that. And maybe that’s just because I’ve seen my fair share of environmental movies and am pretty well informed about the issue, but come on Leo, I think you just scratched the surface on this one. So here are my major critiques of this film.

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Why was it focused around you, Leo?

Leo, hearing about the painting that hung above your crib as a child was lovely and all but why was this whole documentary focused around you. It was you being shocked by air pollution in China, you being flown in a helicopter to see the tar sands in Alberta, you who met the Pope and Barack Obama. And sure, I’m glad that you found enlightenment and were motivated to take action upon seeing and experiencing these things… but realistically, Climate Change is not going to directly affect you, a wealthy actor from California who will still be able to afford food, petrol, clothes and energy. I know that Climate Change will affect us all, but it affects us unequally. It affects the poor in India who have no access to energy. It affects those who can’t farm their own food. And it affects those who don’t have time to rebuild their communities before another hurricane destroys it (again). It affects First Nations people losing their sacred land to be mined. The focus should’ve been shifted towards these individuals to create a more emotive and real portrayal of the effects of Climate Change. Stop taking all the spotlight man!

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Climate Change is a people problem

I believe a huge issue around Climate Change is the way it’s framed in the media. This goes beyond the whole ‘showing climate deniers on news stories etc’ because we all know that’s bullsh*t. I’m talking about from the environmentalists. We’ve all seen the image of a polar bear standing on a melting piece of ice before. We’ve seen before and after pictures of melting glaciers. We’ve seen the effects of more frequent and severe storm patterns. Climate Change is a human problem. We obviously haven’t responded well to seeing nature suffer, but what about us humans? Given our current refugee crisis – especially Australia’s attitude towards refugees, perhaps nothing will change us.

It perpetuates the idea of ‘developing countries’ 

I’m not denying there are huge differences between the developed / developing world, the Global North / Global South, First / Third World… whatever you want to call it. But I’m sick of seeing countries like China and India be portrayed as countries with no consideration for the environment. And that as they go their their economic and industrial boom, it’s portrayed that they are destroying the environment faster than ‘we’ have. Of course this is a significant issue but these countries and the people who are affected by air pollution, restricted access to energy, flooding, storms etc, are protesting, innovating and acting. If Climate Change is a global challenge then we really need to act globally. Therefore we need to move away from this backward notion that developing countries are bad guys of Climate Change because that’s simply not true… ahem… Australia, United States, Canada…

There was nothing groundbreaking

Ice caps and glaciers melting, sea levels rising, the Pacific Islands going under water creating Climate Refugees, tar sands in Alberta, China has bad air pollution, we should all eat less meat, America and the majority of the West’s economy built on fossil fuels….? This is Climate Change 101. I didn’t feel that this documentary contributed anything new to my knowledge of Climate Change or how to combat it.

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On The Bright Side

OK fine Leo, I’ll give you two compliments. But that’s it.

Firstly was your interview with Sunita Narain. When she shook her head at you, damn did I resonate with that shake. Her perspective an extremely valid point. That people who have absolutely no access to electricity don’t care if their energy comes from renewable or non-renewable sources. It just needs to be cheap. And she strongly suggests that the US and other developed countries should be leading the way in making renewable energy affordable and accessible.

And secondly was his interview with astronaut turned environmentalist and innovator Piers Sellers who has dedicated the rest of his life to mapping Climate Change. He talks about seeing the world from such a unique perspective (from space) and how that experience changed his perspective on Climate Change and it’s representation. I believe he’s nailed the thought that we need to look at Climate Change from a completely different perspective and if it takes someone who’s seen the world from outer space, then so be it.

OK so I know I’ve been extremely critical and it’s not entirely Leo’s fault (I’ll still love you Leo). But Climate Change is urgent, and it’s going to take more than a celebrity talking to some scientists, standing in front of a melting glacier to help. Especially when we’re hearing a repetitive narrative.

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For more information on what you can do or how you can get involved, check out Oxfam’s Climate Change page here: https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-we-do/food-and-climate/climate-change/

 

 

 

Call to Action on Climate Change

“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than Climate Change.” – Barack Obama

Climate Change… it seems to be a buzz word of the 21st Century. Now that (most) people have come to accept that it’s a real thing and it’s REALLY going to affect us, the question remains… what can we do NOW to stop it? In a few days, the world’s leaders will be meeting at the UN’s Summit in Paris to submit their proposals for carbon emissions reductions. And to put pressure on our world leaders to set targets that NEED to be met in order to prevent our world and the people in it from spiralling out of control.

And to implement this pressure, the world united to form The People’s Climate March.  Australian’s ‘marched for a transition to renewable energy, for secure job creation, for clean air, for a healthy environment and a safe climate’ (People’s Climate, 2015). However as I found at the Climate March in Sydney on Sunday afternoon, people were marching for so much more!

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Oxfams mission to end the toxic relationship between Climate Change and Food Security. Source

Climate Change is more than a polar bear balancing on a piece of ice. There were people at the Climate March marching for the First Australians and their land, people’s culture and heritage from the Pacific Islands, farmers from rural Australia affected by drought, scientists showing us the hard evidence and harrowing predictions, school children concerned for their future, the elderly concerned they’re leaving their grandchildren a messed up world, people of faith and different cultures… the list continues. The face of Climate Change can be found in your mirror. It will affect you. Each and every one of us are responsible for doing our part in the fight to protect our planet!

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Along with nearly 50 000 other Australians, it was such an incredible experience to march down Macquarie Street in Sydney. Here we are,          50 000 individuals, all leading our separate lives and dealing with our own problems – yet we managed to take a few hours out of our lives and come together to demand climate action now! Not tomorrow, not next year… today!

The World’s Leaders are meeting in Paris and they have to listen to us. In times of terror, war and inequality, it is now more than ever that we must come together as a world united and ready to make REAL decisions that will make positive change to our world. I am not just one woman demanding Climate Action. The world is screaming! Are they listening?

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References

People’s Climate 2015, Australia, http://www.peoplesclimate.org.au/

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER

October… I’m glad you’re over. With the wrath of university taking it’s toll, it was a tough one… but I made it. So… recap on the month that I’m glad is over.

Do It In A Dress

This month, myself and an awesome group of young leaders participated in the One Girl campaign Do It In A Dress. We raised over $8000 to go directly towards educating girls in Sierra Leone. If you want to learn more about this amazing campaign working hard to fight such a huge social injustice we have in this world, you can read here. 

Doin it in a dress at uni
Doin it in a dress at uni

Fox and the Hound

So I may be a bit biased because my friend is in the band… but they’re honestly great! I love supporting local talent but I know it won’t be long before these boys make it big internationally.

Speaking of music….

This SONG!!!! Sia you’ve done it again. I’ve listened to this song probably a billion times and I just can’t get enough. Her vocals are absolutely incredible! If you need to get pumped or inspired… blast this on repeat and I promise you’ll feel ready to take on the world!

Netflix

What else are you supposed to do when you’re tied down with uni work? Procrastinate!!! And Netflix offers endless opportunities for procrastination. This month I finished watching Narcos  and Sense8. I also started watching Orphan Black (I know, I know… I don’t know how I do it, I just do). Such quality shows and I’d definitely recommend them all!

Making my promo video

So I have this friend. She’s ridiculously talented. And she made a promo video for my blog. Whilst we’re still fine tuning it and super excited to release it as soon as possible, I still can’t get over the amazing fun we had shooting it!!! We spent a whole day galavanting around Wollongong and the South Coast. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I couldn’t of asked for anyone better to spend it with!

Promo video fun
Promo video fun

Halloween Formal

Every session at college we have a formal. Sometimes we get fancy, and other times we get freaky. My best friend and I went as an angel and devil duo. There was glitter EVERYWHERE!!! Had such a great night!

Zina and I rockin the classic duo
Zina and I rockin the classic duo

Oxfam Presentation for Global Climate Change Week

This month I was lucky enough to represent and speak on behalf of Oxfam at the University of Wollongong’s Global Climate Change Week regarding the relationship between Climate Change and Food Security. It was such a great opportunity and experience to speak in front of nearly 60 people who are all concerned and passionate about Climate Change and creating change.

Map displaying the countries most vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change. Extreme weather = extreme poverty. Let's be the change we want to see!
Map displaying the countries most vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change. Extreme weather = extreme poverty. Let’s be the change we want to see!

Home

For the first time in months, I finally made it home for the October Long Weekend! And home definitely provided me with the goods. Sunshine, family and adventure!!!

Beautiful Port Stephens
Beautiful Port Stephens

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER

Ok 2015. You can slow down now. But seriously, how quickly has this year flown? Well I guess if it’s just going to keep on flying by, it’s important to have a quick look back on the month that was September 2015!

I’m on a BUS!!! Not sure if anything else can ever beat this one! One minute I’m on a flyer at uni, next minute… a bus! Move over Carrie Bradshaw! I’m coming for you!

Representing UOW on  a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!
Representing UOW on a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!

Welcoming Spring with a Sunrise swim. I love the fact that this is a thing! Starting a new season on the right foot by getting up early and watching the sunrise from the ocean! And if you’re with friends, it makes the freezing cold sand almost bearable!

Worth the 5:30am wake up
Worth the 5:30am wake up

Volunteering with OXFAM. For the next few months, I’m lucky enough to be involved with Oxfam, campaigning against Climate Change in support of food security and sustainable development. I’m really excited to be given such an amazing opportunity like this to become more engaged in the community and make a real difference to the world.

Hit Record TV. Firstly, i’s got Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Secondly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt! But seriously this show is soooooooo good! If you love music, art, creativity and just all round amazingness… then this is the show for you!

Glamping on the South Coast. Ok so we were planning on going camping and then we stayed at a friends holiday house so I’m going to call it glamping. It was such an awesome weekend, spending time at the beach, playing drinking games and just spending some great time with some great people!

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ASLA’s S4S Leadership Conference. I was lucky enough to attend a National Leadership conference at the University of Wollongong. I had the best weekend meeting people from all over the country, focusing on what we’re passionate about and what purpose we have. It was absolutely awesome to meet such inspiring people and really focus on what it means to be a leader.

At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.
At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.

Just generally enjoying time with great friends. This month I’ve just been so grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met and who are in my life right now. Whether it’s watching the Bachelorette, drinking coffee, going crazy in a study room, ordering pizza and just being there for a hug, you’re all amazing and I’m so grateful for all of your support and love.

Some of my fab friends
Some of my fab friends

Well I hope you had a fabulous September and I hope October is splendid.