“An upheaval and massive change is required, now. One that leads to a new collective consciousness, a new collective evolution of the human race, inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency from all of you”.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Climate Summit 2015

Who ever you are, what ever you believe in we should all unanimously care about the planet we live on. If only you knew how we are all contributing to its’ rapid decline and how we are all capable of stopping further damage before it is too late — thankfully there is an easy way to comprehend this all and we’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio and his friends to thank. I typed Before The Flood in to my search bar on one of those glorious Saturday nights in and watched the ecological awareness doco. Its produced by Leo and directed by Fisher Stevens for National Geographic and quite frankly… it blew my mind. Leo should be better known for his role as a UN Keeper of Peace on Climate Change, he changed my life and he can change yours too; its free to watch because the information is so powerful it could change the world, perhaps even restore Earth.

What I thought I knew about climate change in comparison to what I learned was insane. I knew very little in the scheme of things but I knew enough to understand that we need to do a lot in order to prevent further damage. As it turns out there is a lot to be done and a lot that needed to happen yesterday, but what I didn’t know was that if we act now we can actually reverse the damage. This time the message really hit home and I felt the sudden urge and sense of responsibility to tell everyone around me to watch it. To watch the team go to the parts of the world that have been most affected due to climate change and show you first-hand the devastating and irreversible damage to Mother Nature, is something that should resonate with us all. Not to worry, a voluntary carbon tax was paid on behalf of the film’s carbon footprint with the funds going to support efforts in protecting critical rainforests. They think of everything!

President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio White House Twitter Photo (CR: White House/Twitter)
“As a UN Messenger of Peace, I have travelled all over the world for the last two years. I have seen cities like Beijing choked by industrial pollution. Ancient Boreal forests in Canada that have been clear-cut, and rainforests in Indonesia that have been incinerated. In India I met farmers who’s crops have been literally washed away. In America I’ve witnessed sea level rise flooding the streets of Miami. In Greenland and in the Arctic, I was astonished to see that the ancient glaciers are rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific predictions.”
– Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Climate Summit 2015

That was the part that hit me like a ton of bricks, our planet falling a part while we sit idly by. How could we let this happen? Having to watch the people living on defenceless islands in the Pacific Ocean plan to seek refuge (they’ve bought land in Fiji) because in a decade their country won’t exist. Seeing half of India’s population use cow poo to generate electricity, while I sit on my laptop, in a fully lit room — those who have contributed the less yet affected the most. Looking at the Coral Reefs, once an entire colourful and functioning ecosystem now resembling a pile of dumped concrete. Knowing full-well the poorest of the poor need to fish in order to survive; both to make a living and to exist. I mean in 2040 you will be able to sail over the North Pole, that’s ludicrous! It makes you feel disgusted at the human race, even in yourself.

Climate change lives with us, it involves us and I’m sure we’ve all had our own experiences. Last year my home state went through some of the worst bush fires — ever — to almost exactly one year later, suffering the worst floods, ever. In the space of two years extravagant weather patterns occurring on a more regular basis and all due to climate change, isn’t that terrifying? To be experiencing the effects first hand — and we are the lucky ones. The world is changing before our eyes and we are sitting on our arses and Snapchatting the crazy storms, earthquakes and heatwaves and forgetting to ask the question, why is this happening? If you knew how you were contributing I’m 100% sure you would stop, which is why the awareness is so urgent. At least I’m not a politician who refuses to believe climate change is real and thinks it’s a hoax (Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson, every other idiot etc). I know it is real, I know it is happening and I can start to make a change. If you make the people aware, you give them the power.

Thankfully there is hope. How exactly can you make a difference? You can start with what you consume and the products that you buy, to how you get your power and who you vote for (hint: vote for leaders who will fight for climate change). As world leaders are in the position to invest in renewables, stop using fossil fuels and to put a tax on carbon. Changing the way you eat and what you eat can have huge but positive repercussions. Eat locally and eat organically, less chemicals will be used for one and eating locally means you reduce the cost and carbon emissions used to import food. Swapping from beef to chicken can also drastically save the planet, this I didn’t know. Cows burp methane when they eat which is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). This means we are basically farming catastrophic methane bombs to go off in to our planet. Another I wasn’t aware of is palm oil, it is an ingredient found in a lot of household items and due to the demand for it, it has become the biggest reason for rainforest decline in Indonesia and around the world. The only way to prevent this is to stop buying the products that it is used in and to look for alternative measures. More info on products that contain palm oil can be found at World Wild Life.

China competes against America as the biggest polluter on Earth. With their citizens literally being unable to breathe, requiring smog masks everytime they step foot outside. Imagine living in a country where your air has the potential to give you cancer. This is because of the manufacturing factories and the pollution that comes from it by making clothes and goods for us. The Chinese protested in their streets for change and their government listened. Although there is still so much more for China to go, they have made the dent by implementing sustainable and eco-friendly resources including wind turbines to generate power. Small countries like Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland have planned to run off of 100% renewable energy by 2035–2040, while already running at 40%. Huge progressions! (and amazing role models, hint hint US).

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, better known as the head of Tesla Motors has combined Tesla and SolarCity to advance sustainable action around the world. The aim is to create sustaianable battery life through solar panels. He says “The idea is to pair the new Tesla products with solar panels — either on the rooftops of homes or in large-scale solar farms — that will store energy during the day, when the sun is shining, so that it can be used in our homes, for free, at night instead of energy from power plants that produce greenhouse gases”. Could this be the advancement to transition the whole world to sustainable energy?

Fisher and Leo wanted to to give the scientific community a voice with Before The Flood and essentially say human production contributes to climate change — I urge you to watch it. I love the way Fisher puts it so simply “ignorance is bliss. That’s the problem with climate change — people understand it to a certain extent, but not enough” (which was exactly me). This documentary alone is the chance for the larger community to understand. There are people’s lives and countries at stake — to put it’s bluntly the human race is at stake. I am lucky that I have friends and family that want to make a change and are willing to change their own lifestyles to turn this thing around. There is no time to worry about those judging your opinion if you are a part of a movement for the better then the people could really make a difference. We don’t have the time to debate climate change and from Leo himself “if we’re going to solve this problem, we all have a responsibility to set an example”. Only you can change the world, it’s too important to not talk about.

Learn more and take action at the website: Before the Flood