Don’t Look Up is a movie that’s been getting a lot of flack. Written by David Sirota and Adam McKay, this dark comedy has been panned by critics and reviewers all over the place.
If you saw the movie as I did, then read the reviews, as I did, you might have gotten a chuckle from them. Because I swear, they might have come right out of the film. It’s almost like the writers knew exactly what they were talking about. It’s almost, almost like they wanted to hold a mirror up to America in the desperate hope that we might see exactly how stupid and suicidal we’re all being.
This isn’t a review of the movie. Yes, you should watch it because it’s funny. But you should also watch it because it’s honest.
The premise of the movie is simple. A comet is going to hit Earth in six months and kill everyone. Two scientists, named Randall and Kate, discover it and try to warn the president. But things get complicated fast. The president, played by the historically amazing Meryl Streep, doesn’t care to do anything about the comet. Until it hurts her politically.
So let’s talk about climate change.
At this point, I assume most of the people reading this are pretty liberal-minded. So I’m going to talk to you the way I need to be talked to.
We have got to stop being performative and start insisting upon real changes.
What do I mean by this? I mean attack campaigns against people using plastic straws. I mean believing that buying less plastic on a personal scale is going to save the penguins. I mean posting Instagram pics of the sweet new reusable paper towels you bought. (They’re called washcloths.) All of these things are the product of marketing campaigns intended to prey upon our good intentions. And they do not do a damned thing.
We don’t do these things because we’re bad people. We do them because they feel like action. Because they feel like something we can control. And the people who are responsible for boiling our seas and burning our forests laugh at us while we do it.
Do you know what’s going to help fight climate change? Electing people into power who are going to fight for real, sweeping changes right now. Protesting companies who pollute our world. Protesting politicians who write laws that let them. Shutting down fossil fuels right now, not in five years. We need to vote. We need to run for offices. We need to educate ourselves about who’s doing the damage. And we need to make it clear who those people are. Call them out on social media. Say their names. Educate others.
While we talk about climate change, let me be clear about who I am and where I come from. I’m from Western Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of coal here. And a lot of fracking here, too. When I say we need to do something about climate change, I understand what this will mean for my community. My neighborhood, my beloved hometown. I’ve compared my town to a racist uncle that never forgets my birthday. I love it and hate it at the same time. But I need to be clear about this. I care about this place. I care about the people who live here. I don’t want them to lose their jobs, their livelihoods, their homes. Trust me, enough broken souls are haunting this place already. I am fully aware that shutting down fossil fuels might very well mean the death of my hometown.
But here’s the choice we’ve got, folks. We can do what is needed to stop climate change, and we can do it right God damned now. Or we can suffer the consequences. And I do mean we.
Not our grandchildren. Not our children. We are dealing with rising temperatures right now. You don’t have to believe me. Believe your own eyes. Believe what you can see right in front of you.
Just look up.