Review: Before The Flood


Interviews Worth Watching and Solutions To Pay Attention To

“Before the Flood” with Leo DiCaprio is streaming free online until November 7th 2016. Although none of the information in the film was new, it was worth watching for two reasons:

1.) The sheer number of interviews DiCaprio had with prominent politicians, business people and scientist was impressive and worth watching.

2.) The solutions the film lays out are right on and in complete alignment with what I hope   to communicate with this site. We need real progress that goes beyond small steps made by some individuals. We need government involvement, significant business investments and citizens willing to embrace new technology and some life style changes.

The film addresses one of the fundamental arguments I see within the environmental community which is: Consumers need to change their habits and consumption vs Government and businesses need to change their policies and products.

Sunita Narain from the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi argues that America’s consumption is the reason for climate change and the only way to end climate change is for people from the west (mostly Americans) to stop consuming so much.

DiCaprio says to Narain that he agrees that we need to change our consumption, but argues that that’s probably not going to happen (I agree!) He argues that the west must invest in renewable energies such as wind and solar.

An Economy Based on Consumption and Carbon

I absolutely agree that the western lifestyle of consumption and waste is a major driver of climate change. No doubt! But the problem with presenting the idea of reducing or ultimately ending our consumption-waste lifestyle as a solution to the climate issue goes against the only way of life most people in the west know. It goes against every notion of business growth and the social progress we have come to expect in the west.

Everything I see and touch as I write this has come from a carbon producing lifestyle. The computer I work on, the table I sit at, the clothes I’m wearing and the house I live in. I, and I would argue most westerns, feel that we are entitled to a life that has these things, assuming we get educated and have a paycheck and maybe some money in the bank. Very few people want to move backwards to a time when we grew our own food and sewed our own clothes. Humans are wired to move forward, not backwards.

I don’t want trees to be cut down to make my kitchen table or coal to be burned to create the energy that’s needed to make my computers but that’s the reality. Our entire economy is based on consumption. Some things we need, and some things we don’t need but we buy them anyway just because we can. We need food and clothes. We need a roof over our heads. For those of us that have kids we need to buy them all kinds of stuff like back packs and bunk beds and paper and pencils. You can certainly argue that we should all do a better job of limiting our consumption, but most westerns feel these things are essentials and not extravagances. And all these things are produced through energy and right now the majority of our energy comes from fossil fuels which release carbon which causes global warming.

So what can we do so we can still live our lives the way we want to live in the west without frying our planet? Here are the solutions that the film proposes and I agree:

1.) Consume Differently:

  • What you buy
  • What you eat
  • How you get your power

2.) Vote for leaders who will fight climate change by:

  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies
  • Investing in renewables
  • Leaving fossil fuels in the ground
  • Supporting a price on carbon

Although the film does not present new information, the information is presented in an entertaining enough way to keep you watching for the hour and 35 minute run time. The solutions are certainly worth talking about and putting into action. There are certainly more solutions that aren’t outlined in the film. I’ll work on putting together more information on how you can easily implement these solutions in future posts.




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My name is Rebecca. I was born in Sweden, where nature is a guiding force. I was raised in Silicon Valley where innovation rules. My true north is a place where both values merge. I have two high energy kids and a mutt named Sadie. I’m married to my best friend, who I met when I was 17. We juggle life, work, love, and friends in the San Jose, California suburbs. It's fun. I’m trying to answer one question: "How can I live the life I love, sustainably?"

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