Climate professionals and activists, including Frenchwoman Valérie Masson-Delmotte, invented a happy ending to Adam McKay’s feature film which describes the end of humanity after the fall of a comet.
What if satire Don’t Look up describing the end of humanity after the fall of a comet on Earth ended well? Scientists contacted by Netflix, including Frenchwoman Valérie Masson-Delmotte and British ethnologist Jane Goodall, each imagined a happier conclusion than that of director Adam McKay.
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In this broadcast disaster movie, two astronomers, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, spot a comet hurtling towards Earth and face denial from the media, public opinion and politicians. The cataclysmic outcome of this allegory of climate change was “supposed to take us gradually from our ridiculous society, focused on entertainment, politics and distractions, to the cascading light of reality. This reality being of course the inevitable impact of the comet”explains director Adam McKay in an article published Friday on the website of the Netflix platform.
But did the film have to end in disaster for citizens to learn lessons about the climate? The production and broadcaster of the feature film asked a wide range of climate experts to devise an alternative to the disappearance of humanity. “I love the idea of climate leaders, activists and scientists showing us how we can, in fact, create a different endingsaid director Adam McKay. We are not a passive public in the face of this climate crisis. We can act. We can make choices.”
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Meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus, author of the book The Earth of the futureimagine the leaders of countries forming a “global comet council”which would be composed of “Marshall Islands, India, Bolivia, Ukraine, Jamaica, Uganda and Latvia”. A council that would be helped by cooks, social workers and teachers, since “everyone, regardless of ability, has a role to play in helping save the planet”. In this revisited ending, “the comet is successfully diverted and humanity survives”. For the meteorologist, “the greatest victory is the unification of humanity in a common and shared goal: solidarity in these difficult times”.
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For the French paleoclimatologist and co-president of the IPCC (group of UN climate experts) Valérie Masson-Delmotte, professor at the University of Paris-Saclay, the three heroes of the film can compensate for the inaction of the powerful by forming a group of young scientists. This is composed of “crowds of teenagers and other young thinkers who congregate in fab labs and computer labs”. “They are building a defense system of solar-powered lasers that will alter the comet’s trajectory. The world has seen the power of cooperation and what is possible when we share our resources”she imagines.
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For ethnologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, the billionaire who is responsible in the film for the cancellation of the last chance mission, could give up his disastrous project after a sermon from his granddaughter. “Grandfather is my planet too and it is my future that is at stake”, she would tell him. Goodall revisits the fable of the Lion and the Rat concluding: “You are never too small to make a difference”.