The short film above, "Last Hours," is the second episode in the Green World Rising series narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and created by Tree Media. Ahead of next week's U.N. climate summit, DiCaprio was named this week a U.N. Messenger of Peace.
By Leila Conners -- Tree Media
We have reached a milestone this year, exceeding a 400 parts per million level of carbon in the atmosphere. While it was reported, has the trajectory we are on been fully understood? In an era where we are still dealing with climate deniers amidst the biggest self-made global catastrophe facing humankind, it is time that the equivocating stop and the media move beyond climate denial. The reason is simple. The late Dr. Stephen Schneider often reminded us of that we buy insurance for a less than one percent chance that our house will burn down. And yet, we are waiting for 100 percent certainty on climate science even though the very life support system of our planet is at stake. And the science is showing that Earth’s life support system may be truly at stake. Per Dr. Michael Mann and others, business-as-usual emissions could possibly threaten the whole web of life. It is our obligation to take every precaution in our power to prevent that calamity.
The web of life has collapsed several times in the past, including the Permian Mass extinction, during which about 95 percent of all life on Earth perished. We are, with our accelerated burning of fossil fuels, creating conditions similar to those that triggered the Permian Mass extinction. Last Hours, the second film in our Green World Rising series, explains why.
Given the state of the climate debate in this country, we may face consternation that we have told this story. But as Dr. Schneider said, why risk the very life support system of our planet? I believe that people should be treated as adults and be told the truth, even if it is strong medicine. Scientists themselves often have to pull back from sobering conclusions for fear that they get reprimanded. But given the levels of carbon in the atmosphere, it is time to comprehend the whole story. We must all take heed and listen. The European Union adheres to the notion of the precautionary principle. The burden of proof rests with the state or corporation to prove a specific action or product is not harmful before implementing it. The burden there does not rest on the public or civil society to prove that an action or product is not harmful. In the case of climate change, this is prudent law and much worth implementing here in America. Here, the fossil fuel industry undermines, obfuscates and threatens those who speak out. This should no longer be acceptable to the media even if it does sell ads. The debate is over. Climate change is happening due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels. It is time to move on to a sustainable new world. This new world would be stable and viable. We will show that a world powered by renewable energy resources will allow for a more equitable distribution of income and stable energy prices. Less carbon will be released into the atmosphere, pollution will be reduced and overall health will increase. We need to start putting this world in place immediately, and we are glad to see that it is starting to happen. To companies sitting on gigatons of still-buried carbon reserves: Please start massively moving into this new world of sustainable energy. Citizens can do what they can, individually, like plant urban gardens, turn off the lights, compost and recycle. But we need companies and bigger players to step up and build the cars that run on electricity (thank you, Elon) and biofuel from non-food resources; make the planes that run on biojet fuel; and create the systems that power our homes and industry with solar, wind and geothermal.
As my late father said, who worked in the fossil fuel industry: Do not burn fossil fuels but rather, use them to make life-sustaining products. The oil molecule and others like it have many undiscovered properties and unlocked potential: burning them is the least interesting and most destructive. A world based on fossil fuels has no future; so stop fighting for it. And if companies don’t want to invest in this sustainable, economically robust future; that's fine; but don't create barriers that prevent all of us from building this world; please step out of the way. Humanity still has a bright future if we move as quickly as possible to a world based on renewable energy. Let’s fight for this world, and stop giving credence to the deniers and their junk science that has for so long kept us back and created our current state of peril. It’s time for all of us to work in harmony with nature to build this new world.