Before the Flood was probably the most anticipated climate change documentary of the decade. As a high profile documentary featuring our favourite Hollywood heartthrob and United Nations Representative on Climate Change, Before the Flood was the latest attempt at galvanising public and political support for the climate change ‘agenda’. It epitomises Thinkvine’s goal of combining environmentalist and political discourses so here is our take on Before the Flood.
Firstly, well done. Before the Flood, dotted with spectacular imagery and high-profile interviews, does what it set out to do; it presents the world’s largest scientific consensus in a visual and hard hitting way. From ice lost in the Arctic, to flooded plains in rural India, to the sinking islands in the South Pacific, to Miami’s flooded streets; Before the Flood accurately and effectively makes climate change everyone’s problem and demands everyone’s action.
The documentary attempts to address some of the reasons for previous climate change policy failures and notes the disproportionate numbers of American congressmen who are in fact climate change deniers (131 in the House of Representatives and 38 in the Senate). There is a brief exploration of the relationship between corporate interests and political funding however we feel it didn’t make explicit the inherent flaws in our political system that facilitates such a relationship. Fossil fuel funding runs deep in most modern political systems on both sides of the atlantic
The nature of our capitalist system is that money buys power, because money and wealth is overvalued for what it actually is, or even what it can buy. The incessant will to grow means that climate change is perhaps inevitable, and that even if we all stop eating meat, and driving cars, and switch to solar, and grow our own food, the system that we live in will dictate that profits need to be made and consumption therefore needs to increase.
Before the Flood had an amazing platform to talk about these issues. Though we appreciate that there is only so much one can do in an hour and 22 minutes, maybe some of the symbolic, later part of the film could have been sacrificed to talk about the system that has allowed climate change to be such an impending threat. We need to do more than question our lifestyle changes. We need to question the system we live in.
Watch Before the Flood here: