For the third in our series of Lent Lectures we watched ‘Before the Flood’ – a documentary from Leonardo Di Caprio (in his role as UN Messenger of Peace on Climate Change) and National Geographic. It is a powerful and sobering film, evidenced by the hush which descended on the audience as the credits rolled at the end.
The documentary draws together a number of leading experts in climate change, together with a plethora of data and statistics and footage from around the world where people are already living with and suffering from the consequences of climate change. For me, one of the most powerful and poignant interviews is with Piers Sellers, a Climate Scientist and Astronaut. Sellers speaks movingly about the earth’s fragility. When asked what key things the public ought to know about climate change. Sellers replies:
“Here are the facts: The climate is warming…we know within almost an absolute certainty that it’s us who are causing the warming and the CO2 emissions. Because it’s warming, the ice is melting, and because the ice is melting and the oceans are warming, the sea is rising…We observe that, too…”
In late 2015 Sellers had been diagnosed with terminal cancer; he was determined to focus on what was important to do and to contribute whatever he could in the time he had left. Sellers died in December 2016.
Social responsibility, political will, technical innovation: we all need to act now.