Finally Climate Change has a spokesperson that might really be able to sell it: Leonardo DiCaprio has been named United Nations Messenger of Peace, and with that title he opened the UN Summit on Climate Change on Tuesday with a powerful address that only someone of his practised charisma could.
“None of this is rhetoric, and none of this is hysteria; it is fact.”
The facts have been around for a while now (a good few decades – see IPCC, est. 1988), but we have never had anyone communicating them like DiCaprio. The closest we’ve had up until now has been Bill Nye The Science Guy (and this one time John Oliver) – don’t get me wrong, Bill Nye’s brilliant… but he’s still ‘the science guy’, as he has been for years. He just doesn’t have the repeated experience of playing (therefore ‘being’) The Hero. In his address, DiCaprio is the bridge between hundreds of thousands of normal people and Leaders of the World – and he’s speaking to and for both of those kinds of people. We may still be talking about climate-science, but the scientists were nowhere near this game. Here’s a Ven Diagram:
Please don’t think I’m under-playing the importance of scientists in all this – none of this would be happening without them, and they underlie all of it. But for the radical change that we need to see enacted, someone used to saving the world (even if he’s usually just pretending) is just what’s needed. And his familiarity with world-ending scenarios almost gives him credential when he delivers my favourite line of his entire address:
“You can make history, or you will be vilified by it.”
This is a serious statement. But more than that, it sounds kinda cool. It’s a very true statement, and a nice ultimatum that’s forming the element of conflict in this Climate-Crisis Story. Hero’s are rising to save this world, and I think we’ve found the perfect leading-man.