A mesmerizing oasis opens the scene from a triptych oil painting called “The Garden of Earthly Delights”. This three scene panel immediately captures the eyes because of its multitude of vibrant colors and early nature depictions of our past; however, the mood quickly changes from one panel to the next as the middle panel depicts a more modern luxurious life of lust, sin, metropolis and wonder. The last panel has an even more profound impact with its depictions of a “lost paradise’ in ruins, almost hell-like imagery on-earth. This painting was chosen as a starting point for a National Geographic film, Before the Flood, that follows Leonardo DiCaprio and his continued scholarly understanding on how climate change has been affected by humans and what it means for our ecosystems' future.
The painting may seem dramatized in some eyes because it has “religious iconography” but the fact of the matter is that our ecosystem is dramatically changing around the world at an alarming rate having environmental effects on a multitude of life; humans, animals, plants, oceans, climate, health, sustainability and future of Planet Earth. Our fascination with other planets, living organisms and life has been rooted and invested in our culture; from but not limited to: television series, science and space exploration. What’s an interesting concept and analog, told to me a while back is that our Planet Earth is like our spaceship, traveling in the universe. A spaceship that is but a speck in a larger system; however, our spaceship is unlike anything we have ever seen, nearly 4.543 billion year old planet that has been self sustainable, that is, until this last quarter of a century.
DiCaprio speaks with Doctors, Scientists, Naturalists, Social Reformers, Politicians to get to the underlying inevitable result of Global Climate Change that is having a tremendous effect on people's lives. Forces from homes because of rising waters, extreme weather conditions, loss of natural resources and basic necessities such as water. Blame is not just segregated and placed on fossil fuel industries but understanding that the business has the largest footprint on our ecosystem. It takes an educated public to uprise and push for sustainable energy and to contribute to a greener footprint.
Before the Flood (2016) follows a team of researchers and filmmakers as they document global warming. Image from National Geographic
Before the Flood, Director Fisher Stevens, 21 Oct. 2016, www.beforetheflood.com/.