Environmentalists have been around for quite some time. Pioneers like John Muir and Henry David Thoreau wrote about the importance of conservation more than a century ago, and there have been countless environmentalists since then. The spirit of conservation has ebbed and flowed through the decades. But you know the environmental movement has gone mainstream when Hollywood gets involved.
“The 11th Hour” is a new documentary by Leonardo DiCaprio that delivers his message about the need to preserve our earth. DiCaprio proposes solutions to the environmental challenges of global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans’ habitats.
The film has many contributors, including over fifty politicians, scientists, and environmental activists. DiCaprio invites some pretty big names, like Stephen Hawking, to document the pressing problems we face. The premise of “The 11th Hour” is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy.
Experts in the film all agree that humans cause global warming. That may seem obvious now, but when “The 11th Hour” was made in 2007, officials from the Bush Administration still refused to acknowledge this widely agreed upon scientific fact. The role humans play in destroying the environment is explained by many experts from various fields of study: environmental scientists, oceanographers, philosophers, economic historians, and even medical specialists agree that the human impact on the earth is out of control.
“The 11th Hour” is not without criticism, though. Patrick Moore, an environmentalist who avidly opposes scare tactics, criticized DiCaprio for using fear and terror in the film. As Moore stated, “This film should be a good, clear reminder for us to put the science before the Hollywood hype.”
“The 11th Hour” has also been criticized for lacking entertainment value. Perhaps that’s because the fans of DiCaprio’s other films, such as “Romeo and Juliet” or “Titanic,” were looking for romance and explosions. But “The 11th Hour” is rich in content and delivers a powerful message.
Leonardo DiCaprio did a terrific job, and in the end, “The 11th Hour” is effective in appealing to reason. With global warming a looming issue, and the American public doing little about it, “The 11th Hour” is an important film that reminds us if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.
Depressing at times, “The 11th Hour” reminds us we’ve got to act now. The very existence of this film offers hope, though. In the end, the eternal optimism of environmentalism may get the best of you.