Don’t Look Up shows that simply bashing people over the head with facts does not work, and this is true also in the real world. That’s why so many scientists and climate activists get so frustrated seeing that people turn away their heads when they try to explain them the dangers to our very own survival that the climate crisis is bringing about.
The film’s greatest chance of influencing climate engagement is among individuals who are aware or concerned about climate change, but not yet alarmed. This group represents a majority of the public. We need those people to become not only aware, but alarmed and subsequently ready to make the changes needed in order to avoid the worse scenario. How?
It is communicating our ability to act on climate change – portraying a sense of efficacy or “constructive hope” – that is crucial here. Like with everything in life, we need to concentrate on the positive side and not on the negative, otherwise the first reaction of people is to turn the head away. That instinct is embedded in our very own human nature. So we must be able to override this instinct, or better to go around it, and the way is to look and concentrate on the bright side of things, not the dark one.
We must therefore talk about the climate crisis in terms of the positive outcomes there will be if we move away from fossil fuels and biomass burning – one of the positive aspects is, for example, the up to 7-8 millions lives that can immediately be saved yearly because there will much less Air Pollution. Another way is promoting the fact that we will embrace new, sustainable technologies – because we are really obsessed with technology, so we need to work with that too (that’s why the idea of de-growth is not really accepted, we all think that this way we would go back living in caves, even though this is a just misconception). And that we will be able to live in sustainable, smart and people-centered cities (instead of car-centered cities), with more independence (we will create our very own energy for example), more sense of community, etc. etc.
This is the future that in truth each one of us, independently of their political views, really dreams for ourselves and our children, isn’t it? So this is what we need to concentrate on if we really want to see people accepting the changes that scientists are begging us to embrace. Not the crisis on itself, but the opportunities that arise while accepting the much needed change. And the hope that the world will be a better place if we all start working together in order to get to it.
In view of all this, we realize how all governments, except for a few “enlightened ones” like Costa Rica, or possibly others lead by young women for example (Finland might be one, lets’ see if they will make it), are totally out of line with the reality of the planetary crisis that we are living in. We need new leaders, leaders who have a clear holistic view and the balls to go against the traps and blackmails of the mainstream economy which is bringing us into the abyss. But the truth is that we will need to wait another 10-15 years to see such leaders becoming a reality, once the young Fridays for Future activists will finally become mature and old enough to start campaigning politically. Until then we will have more and more flops like COP26 in Glasgow and next year COP27 in Egypt, and so on. Leaders today have no vision nor balls.
But us, those who see the climate crisis as an opportunity to make us a better society in a better world, we need to keep the eye on the ball and not give in. We are preparing the way to the next, young generation of leaders that will put in practice what today’s frustrated, angry, hopeless scientists are desperately trying to tell us, but with little success.