| CANNES, France
CANNES, France Hollywood star and long-time
environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has a message for the
world: go green now, before it's too late.
As DiCaprio tells it in film documentary "The 11th Hour,"
launched on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, people are
living in the last minutes of the final hour before it may be
too late to do anything about global warming.
"Global warming is a reality. It is happening," DiCaprio
told reporters gathered for the movie's debut.
Last year "An Inconvenient Truth" explored the same
environmental issue by telling of former Vice President Al
Gore's long and lonely campaign to educate people and
politicians about the environmental issue.
"An Inconvenient Truth" became a global box office hit with
about $50 million in worldwide ticket sales -- a huge sum for a
non-fiction film -- and it also won an Oscar.
DiCaprio credits the movie for raising popular culture's
concern about the issue, and said films often have a greater
impact than scientific speeches or research papers because
regular people actually watch, listen and learn in cinemas.
"In the last year, people are taking this issue more
seriously than they ever have, and it's a direct result of
affecting people's emotions in a cinematic format," he said.
David Orr, the chair of environmental studies at U.S.
university Oberlin College put it differently: "Sooner or
later, it is film, music or poetry that move people. It's a
necessary step in forming political discussion."
DARK BUT HOPEFUL
Unlike "An Inconvenient Truth" which focused in large part
on Gore, "11th Hour," takes a scholarly look at the causes of
the problem -- which some political leaders and scientists deny
exists -- and what people can do to stop it.
The roughly 90-minute movie, which was produced and
narrated by DiCaprio and directed by sisters Leila Conners
Petersen and Nadia Conners, is both scary and hopeful.
Acting much like a guide for audiences, DiCaprio poses
questions everyday people might ask. Then, well known
scientists including Stephen Hawking provide answers.
"I wanted to give (the scientific believers) a way of not
being challenged about whether the science is correct or
whether their were opinions were valid," DiCaprio said.
"It was about them being able to express ideas and being
able to give us, the public, solutions for the future."
The scientists warn that the ultimate end point of extreme
climate change is human extinction, but they also give examples
of what can be done to stop it, from simply changing light
bulbs to electing "green" leaders or buying "green" products.
DiCaprio and the directors said they tried to stay away
from partisan politics because the global warming affects all
people, regardless of being liberal or conservative.
But "The 11th Hour" does aim squarely at the United States
and its industries.
"We are the largest superpower in the world. We're are also
the largest polluters," DiCaprio said.
"It's ultimately us as the largest democracy in the world
to be the ones to set an example ... if we don't do it, how is
the rest of the world supposed to follow?"
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