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Don't Look Up: 5 lessons on the climate crisis

This new Netflix film, like all good satire, has divided critical and public opinion. Some consider it a brilliant work and others simply abhor it.

However, there is something undeniable; the movie has too many similarities with real life, especially in how the climate crisis has been faced. That is why in the following lines we highlight the lessons that we should put into practice in order not to face an ending similar to the one depicted in Don't Look Up.

Warning! If you haven't seen the movie yet and want to avoid spoilers, it's best to read the article afterwards.

1. Ignoring the problem does not solve the problem.

The film tells the story of two scientists who discover that a comet larger than the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs is heading to Earth, they try to avoid the collision, but the authorities and part of humanity react in a rather apathetic way, even denying the existence of the comet.

Consequently, DiCaprio's and Jennifer Lawrence's characters create a campaign for people to look up at the sky and notice the celestial body that will hit our planet. In contrast, the U.S. government launches a counter-campaign asking people not to look up, because if they do not look up they will ignore the problem.

However, in the end it is shown that ignoring the problem leads to the impossibility of solving it. The same is currently happening with the climate crisis, various political actors want to minimize, hide and even deny the great problem of global warming, making a part of society see no threat and remain inactive as part of the solutions.

This leaves us with the following lesson...

2. We must choose better leaders

The plot of Don't Look Up and the fate of humanity would have been totally different if the President of the United States (played by Meryl Streep) had put the welfare of the people above her personal interests. The solution was in her hands, but she preferred to be selfish and play with everyone's hopes.

Meryl's character reminds us of those real-life politicians who, despite knowing the risks facing the planet as a result of the climate crisis, decide not to take action to benefit individuals whose multi-million dollar businesses are sustained by the destruction of the environment. Therefore, one of the lessons the film teaches us is that we must do all we can to choose leaders who really take climate change seriously.

3. We must act while we still can

Even in the face of an apocalyptic collision scenario, there were solutions that could save life on the planet (which, it is worth remembering, is not made up solely of humans). However, the factors mentioned above led to the fact that the right actions were not executed at the right time, thus the damage was irreversible.

Currently, we are in the phase of the crisis where there is still a chance to prevent the worst-case scenario from becoming a reality. And although the latest United Nations Environment Program Report has already stated that there are irreversible consequences, it also highlights that there are still actions that can be taken to not exceed the 1.5°C threshold during the next 5 years. So it is up to us to take individual and collective actions to pressure governments and companies to comply with the Paris Agreement.

4. We must inform ourselves and listen to experts

The scientific community and experts in the field are making significant efforts in research and development to solve today's environmental problems, but if we don't listen to them, how will we know what needs to be done to avoid an environmental catastrophe?

Don't Look Up showed us the terrible consequences of ignoring scientific opinion and remaining ignorant, so if we want life as we know it not to be destroyed, it is important to keep ourselves constantly informed with reliable information from those who have studied the subject for years.

5. We are fragile and can self-destruct

Unlike most Hollywood apocalyptic films, Don't Look Up does not present us with a heroic ending where humanity finds salvation. On the contrary, despite the efforts of the protagonists, the actions of a sector of society brought humanity to its end, showing us how fragile we can be as a species.

In fact, the end of the film leaves a bitter and sad feeling, especially knowing that in the real world we are also self-destructing (this author admits that a couple of tears escaped during the last scene). Of course, global warming is a totally different threat than a colossal comet, as the death and destruction of species occurs progressively, affecting rich and poor unequally.

So if the current policies of most governments continue, our future will be similar to the ending of Don't Look Up; only the privileged will be able to survive and the rest of the world will suffer the terrible consequences of living on a planet that is less and less habitable.

Have you already seen the movie, do you think there are other lessons to share, and let us know in the comments!

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