Tuesday, January 18

Don’t Look Up: Scientist compares film to inaction on climate crisis

Available on Netflix since December 5, the film “Don’t look up” tells the story of two astronomers trying to alert the world of the imminent destruction of the Earth by a comet.

In a column published on the British site The Guardian, the American climate scientist, Peter Kalmus, compares the terrifying indifference encountered by the main characters – embodied by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence – of this satire by Adam McKay, to his on the degradation of the global climate. And the terrible consequences that the current inaction weighs on Humanity.

“The panic and despair they feel reflects the same panic and despair that many climatologists feel today,” writes the scientist of this film where PhD student in astronomy Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and its director thesis, Professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio), discover that a “planet-killer” asteroid will hit Earth in just over six months. When announcing the terrible news to the American President (Meryl Streep), the two scientists are shocked to note the total lack of interest aroused by their revelation.

“In one scene, Mindy hyperventilates in a bathroom; in another, Dibiasky yells’ Are we not clear enough? We’re 100% sure we’ll all fucking die! ‘, Live on TV. I understand their feeling. This is what it is to be a climate scientist today, ”continues Peter Kalmus (whose column has been fully translated HERE).

Collective awareness

“After 15 years of working to try and fuel the climate emergency, I have concluded that the public in general, and world leaders in particular, underestimate how much climate and environmental degradation will be. fast, serious and permanent if Humanity does not mobilize now, ”he warns.

“The Earth system is collapsing right now at breakneck speed. And climatologists have faced an even more difficult public communication job than the astronomers of Don’t Look Up. For good reason, the destruction of the climate is unfolding over decades – at lightning speed as far as the planet is concerned, but dramatically slow as regards the media cycle of the news. It is not as immediate, spectacular and visible as a comet in the sky ”, we can also read.

If Peter Kalmus believes that general awareness today no longer depends on the exposition of scientific facts (all information is known and available), he wants to believe that stories – like that of Don’t look up – can contribute to the solution by helping to raise collective awareness.

“Lack of technology is not what is blocking action… Instead, Humanity should face the fossil fuel industry head-on, accept that we need to use less energy and go into Emergency mode. Total. The feeling of solidarity and relief that we would feel once this change is in place – if it ever happens – would be a game-changer for our species, ”he proclaims.


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