Echoing the green voices from the movie industry

Climate change education has gone Hollywood. The American movie industry has taken bold steps in addressing the effects of climate change through a subgenre called the Climate Fiction “Cli-Fi”, in the science fiction (Sci-Fi) genre. The idea has been to increase climate change and global warming awareness portrayed in films apocalyptic in nature, showing cataclysmic repercussions of the human’s interaction with the environment.

Hollywood’s climate change awareness have been portrayed in films such as Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). The film is a classic representation of what becomes of the earth if the current environmental abuse is not checked. It is a post-apocalyptic representation of global warming, when water and gasoline become extremely scarce, and the world almost an infinite wasteland. In Interstellar (2014), the producers warned about environmental pollution and predicted that by 2067 earth would experience crop blight because lands are no longer available for crop and food production.

The animation movie, Happy Feet (2006), which carried the story in the perspective of penguins, warned about marine pollution and overfishing in the Antarctica. Man’s disruptive activities in the polar region would render the penguins vulnerable to extinction. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) sets in motion the activities of human in increasing global temperatures and a new ice age development. In The China Syndrome (1979), it predicted a nuclear meltdown in China. Decades later in March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster happened. How prophetic!

88th Academy Awards

For two reasons, staying up all night watching the awards popularly referred to as the Oscars was totally worth it, really! One, the biggest story of it all, Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins the Best Actor Oscar for his role in the movie ‘The Revenant’. Two, the global call for environmental preservation and climate change mitigation was well represented.

DiCaprio’s acceptance speech even made it much more interesting. He talked more about the environment than about the award itself. “Climate change is real. It is the most urgent threat right now to our collective future” he rightly captured. In another acceptance speech by ace costume designer Jenny Beavan, for  the film Mad Max: Fury Road, which focused its theme on the effects of extreme global warming, warned that the film could be “horribly prophetic” if we do not take measures to stop polluting the atmosphere.

Leonardo DiCaprio is not a closet environmentalist. He in fact, is acclaimed for his environmental activism, and has won him awards and special recognitions from environmentalists and NGOs notably, United Nations and Live Earth. He drives environmentally friendly cars and his homes are quite cozy, well landscaped and powered with solar panels. Off the island of Belize, DiCaprio bought himself an island proposed for an eco-friendly resort. He has also been a big donor to NGOs and international agencies campaigning for wildlife conservation and climate change mitigation. He is doing his part in taking the environment seriously.

Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo: Annie Leibovitz)

Yes, climate change is real and everyone is threatened, our entire civilization is under threat and worst still, our collective existence. This is among the greatest and gravest threat the world has ever faced in human history. It is felt both in developed and developing economies. Global warming is permanently changing the climate and face of mother earth. This is a ricochet of man’s interaction with the environment. Climate change is irreversible. Fact that. The earth is now locked in a situation the entire race will have to contend with.

A cue for Nollywood and Kannywood

Truth is, Hollywood had been sponsoring and encouraging climate change and global warming awareness through entertainment and must be commended for this. Still positive, a lot more need be done. Hollywood has set the pace in climate change awareness and education through entertainment and motion pictures. Nollywood, Kannywood and African movie industries alike can follow suit and educate the populace while entertaining the teeming viewers about this grave danger, which is almost imminent. These movie industries can take a cue and downshift a little from the mainstream romance to more serious and pressing matters that threaten our collective existence.

Climate change is real. Take a cue from the Hollywood, be an environmentalist like DiCaprio, protect the future of our children and your children’s children. Have a good conscience to do right by the environment. Be the change you wish to see in the world and ensure posterity enjoys the benefits of your actions and not suffers our indiscretions. Nollywood, Kannywood make this a priority. Educate your viewers.

[Guest Writer] Abdulmumin Tanko (@tikaysmalls) is of Green Habitat, a non-governmental organization promoting for adoption and implementation of sustainable policies and frameworks in agricultural, building and construction sectors.