It was only till it affected him directly he understood the damage that is being caused to the world. Now if this is not bad enough, he then goes on to compare the loss of his home to the destruction of peoples’ homes in Puerto Rico caused by a natural disaster.
This is inappropriate for various reasons, as he is a wealthy white Westerner that despite the fact he has lost the sentimental value of his home, he has access to support, insurance, savings, the ability to still work and earn a living; the financial detriment is incomparable to people suffering from climate poverty. The fact he even saw it as something comparable is unbelievable, especially when as being a wealthy member of a wealthy nation he is contributing far more to carbon emissions and global warming than any of the Puerto Ricans that they visited.
This truly demonstrates that when talking about the climate debate, we need to assume a system of responsibility. Western nations need to be aware of their history of colonisation, we need to promote action from our governments that will look at curbing our direct impact on the world, such as taxing fossil fuels while subsidising green energy. Moreover, Western nations need to end the exploitation of post-colonial countries which is enabled through globalisation. For example, we need to see the overhauling of the fast fashion industry or ending our appropriation of scarce and significant foodstuffs, minerals, and natural resources, all of which will help build a more sustainable planet.
“What is needed is collective and meaningful action …binding agreement of governments to tackle climate change through the main polluters, to change our economy from one based on growth to one that is sustainable, and to ensure that more wealthy countries are contributing their fair share to fighting climate change.”
This brings me on to my final criticism of the show. Zac Efron and Darien Olien obviously felt very proud of what they had achieved; they signed off saying that they hope this brings attention to the issues of climate change. However, attention is not what is needed. The majority of the world’s population understands and recognises the impacts of climate change.
What is needed is collective and meaningful action. A coherent and binding agreement of governments to tackle climate change through the main polluters, to change our economy from one based on growth to one that is sustainable, and to ensure that more wealthy countries are contributing their fair share to fighting climate change – all to build a better future for generations to come. If what is presented in Down to Earth is how we think we will resolve climate change, then we have a rocky road ahead.
First published October 2020. Volume 16, Issue 1.