I have always understood that there are a large number of people who believe that climate change as a result of human behaviour does not exist. Whether they truly believe this or whether they have convinced themselves to because to accept the truth is too uncomfortable, I don’t know. But what I didn’t really realise is that there are also people who believe and accept the reality of what we humans are doing to the environment, and aren’t motivated to do anything about it. Sometimes people are aware that climate change will likely cause global catastrophes on an unprecedented scale in ways that we can’t even really foresee yet, but don’t see what they personally can do about it. Or they know that Trump’s election will in all probability be disastrous climate-wise, but the difference between us is that this knowledge drives me to do everything in my power to change, whereas they don’t see the need. What’s happening is sad, yes, and definitely disappointing; it would certainly be preferable if it weren’t happening, but the knowledge that the functions of civilisation are wreaking this kind of havoc doesn’t strike home.
Now, more than ever before, we must remember the irreplaceable value of wilderness and nature. The road ahead will be difficult, and sometimes it will seem hopeless; sometimes we will want to fall to our knees and tear our hair and give up, and sometimes we will feel like our actions and our words are meaningless and that nothing we do can make a difference, but we must always remember that as long as we keep fighting we have not lost. You are not alone. For as long as you stand up, I will stand up with you. You are not alone.
This is a brilliant documentary from the National Geographic, narrated and led by Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a great piece on the devastation already being caused by climate change and an inspiring call to individuals, corporations and governments alike to take action and make a change in the small and narrowing window of time we have left.
I thought the small segment on agriculture was extraordinarily two-dimensional, focusing essentially on the (unarguably) negative impacts of industrial beef production. I think a huge opportunity has been missed to discuss different kinds of and approaches to farming, and the exponentially different effects they have on the environment. Considering the industrial agricultural system is such a huge part of global emissions (especially when deforestation and the production of pesticides and other indirect emissions are taken into account), and considering the fact that agriculture of some kind will be necessary if we all want to continue eating, it is disappointing that DiCaprio and the National Geographic Channel didn’t take the opportunity to even briefly look at how we could farm in a way that benefits the environment.
For instance, the single agricultural expert consulted advocated a switch to eating chicken as a good way for individuals to mitigate their impact on the climate. But this seemed to be based largely on the amount of methane produced by chickens as opposed to cattle, without any consideration of the wider context. If the choice was between industrially farmed chicken and sustainably-raised grass-fed beef, for example, a much more complex analysis would be required; the latter choice would be a better choice in terms of supporting a sustainable and environmentally beneficial agricultural system.
Nevertheless, it’s an enlightening documentary that has really re-galvanised me into doing everything in my power both as an individual and as a member of my community to try to avert catastrophe. Its only an hour and a half long and free to watch for another two days – what are you waiting for?