Why climate scientists like not to research (and film critics don’t)

This satirical science fiction movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Randall) and Jennifer Lawrence (Kate) has sparked controversy on social media. Climate scientists and activists praise it, but most film critics decry the film.

The climate scientist wrote: “It is the most accurate film about society’s horrific lack of response to the climate crisis I have seen.” Peter Calmos. “Lovely #DontLookUp. Especially since it also wipes the floor with next-level climate cheaters,” party animal leader Esther Oyehand tweeted.

Film critic Peter Bradshaw wrote in his book, “A hard, self-confident, and unrelenting satire.” Watchman. Headlines “Don’t Look For: A Cosmic Catastrophe. Even Big Names Like DiCaprio, Streep, and Lawrence Can’t Save This Bad Humor for a Movie” The Wall Street Journal. He writes “It’s not a movie that has anything special to say” Daily beast.

“Science has not heard”

We will tell you later why critics deplore the film. First, climate scientists and activists: they’re fans. but why? “If I’m honest, blockbuster Hollywood movies aren’t exactly my genre, but I found this interesting because it’s relevant to my field,” says climate scientist Martin van Aalst of the University of Twente.

Van Aalst sees many similarities between the film and the present day. “It’s about the science that politicians don’t hear. Politicians are looking for a politically feasible story, while scientists point out that there is no choice in what is or isn’t possible. Now you can see that in the movie they are very clear in their position that something has to be done. Just feeling Urgency in politics is missing.”

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stop pretending

Climate activist Frick Birch agrees. He believes the film shows how politicians regard the image as more important than addressing the problem. “The film shows that politicians do not dare face reality for fear of losing voters. In the Netherlands, politicians also fear that.”

Look what Mark Rutte said at the Glasgow Climate Summit be able to pursue a more ambitious climate policy Because a VVD voter will then vote for future far-right parties.”

feeling misunderstood

The film also shows how the media deals with scientists who warn of big (and sometimes uncomfortable) problems, says Birch. He remembers a scene where Scientist Kate, frustrated and sad, walked away from a talk show because she felt she had been misunderstood. “He laughs at her, while this is a logical reaction to what’s going to happen. Her story just isn’t attractive because it seems negative, abstract and distant. This also goes for the climate story.”

Here, Van Aalst says, scientists also bear a responsibility. “It’s about highlighting a difficult message. Then it’s important not to use technical language.”

The climate scientist and activist does not know if the film also helps address climate problems. “But the movie feels like a helping hand,” says Birch. “Film alone won’t change the world,” says Van Aalst. “But if it gets people to change their behavior, it helps progress.”

traditional photo media

As mentioned, film critics are no less impressed. That’s not surprising, says Mark Dawes, professor of media studies at UvA. “The bottom line is that the work of climate science is portrayed in a real and accurate way, while the work of the media is portrayed as commercial, shallow and poor. We see the traditional image of the media, as we have often seen in films.”

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The interaction between presenters and climatologists is exemplary, says Dawes. “They mainly care about how someone acts and looks, not the content at all. It’s the classic criticism of the media and the press that goes back to Hollywood movies. Only that criticism has become completely outdated.”

“Scientists today are no longer entirely dependent on television, but can also express their opinions on social media. That is why you see a lot of frustration among people who know so little about film and media. I would love if a film was made in which criticism of the media is more nuanced. “.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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