The National Geographic channel has released what some are describing as the most important documentary of the year.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Fisher Stevens, produced by and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the feature length delves deep into how our use of fossil fuels is impacting the planet and what the future may hold if we carry on at the same rate.

Before the Flood receives its name from Hieronymus Bosch’s infamous triptych painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Throughout the film, DiCaprio uses the contrast between the bright yielding colours of the first panel against the depictions of destruction and hell in the last as an analogy for the catastrophic results of climate change.

Beginning with his appointment as the United Nation’s Messenger of Peace on climate change, we witness DiCaprio traversing five continents and the Arctic as he meets with scientists and world leaders whilst also grappling with his own carbon footprint.

Far from being hypocritical, the actor tackles the backlash from his critics head on and humanely — addressing his shortcomings and cementing the unrelenting eco campaign he’s been on since 2000.

“The difference now is, we’re knowingly doing this.”
Leonardo DiCaprio

Far-reaching in its coverage, the documentary explains how everything from fracking to the cheap commodification of palm oil is producing carbon dioxide at an alarming rate.

During a visit to Florida, DiCaprio uncovers a calculated propaganda campaign ruled by the elite’s vested interests in fossil fuel front companies.

Key politicians are implied to have deliberately tried to confuse the public on the validity of global warming’s existence.

Perhaps the most alarming fact from one expert is that “…by 2040 you will be able to sail over the North Pole, there’s going to be no sea ice left in the Arctic Ocean.”

This runs counter to the filming of the actor’s latest film, The Revenant, which saw the production team’s upheaval from Alberta, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina because the snow, central to the film’s setting, was melting too fast.

“By 2040 you will be able to sail over the North Pole, there’s going to be no sea ice left in the Arctic Ocean.”

Thoroughly educational, Before the Flood urges viewers to put pressure on western politicians who are our ‘elected followers’ rather than ‘elected leaders’ to introduce a carbon tax and set an example to developing countries in the field of renewable energy use. Something Sweden is already working towards as it seeks to become the first fossil fuel free country.

Before the Flood‘s message is clearif we don’t act now it really will be too late and it will have been all our own doing.

 

 

 

You can watch the full documentary here


Featured Image: UN/Mark Garten via Flickr CC