Leonardo DiCaprio moderated a Q&A panel on Tuesday afternoon at Cosford Cinema following the pre-screening of “Before The Flood,” a documentary that focuses on climate change impacts around the world.
DiCaprio was joined by actor and friend Mark Ruffalo, UM professor Kenny Broad, Executive Director of Miami Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein and the film’s director Fisher Stevens. The event, which only publicly advertised that Stevens would be in attendance, was sold out online. DiCaprio and Ruffalo arrived as surprise guests.
During the panel, DiCaprio asked whether Hurricane Matthew was correlated with climate change.
“Hurricanes have some legitimate scientific debate relating to climate change,” Broad said.
He noted that previously, scientists could not definitively say that harsh hurricane seasons were tied to climate change. This has lead “particularly right-wing mediums” to say that climate change wasn’t real, according to Broad. He described harsh hurricane seasons as a “double-edged sword.”
The journey to disprove global warming is one that was touched upon in the documentary and during the panel. DiCaprio said the purpose of the film was not only to raise awareness about the issues but also to encourage people to vote for officeholders who believe in climate change and will do something about it — particularly in the state of Florida.
“We hope we relayed the information and messaging as strong as we possibly could. This is not just a severe and terrifying future for Florida but for the whole world community,” said DiCaprio. “We all realize that every election, Florida is a swing state. I’m not saying specifically who to endorse, but I am saying, and I said this yesterday, we cannot afford to have people in political office who do not believe in science or the scientific method or empirical truths or facts.”
“Before the Flood” follows DiCaprio during a span of two years, while he visited different countries around the world including the United States, India and China. At each of these countries, he explored different ways climate change affected the local areas and what could be done to stop or reduce its negative impacts.
Ruffalo said the initial title of the film was “Are We F*cked?”
“This is a really personal film for him,” said Ruffalo. “That was a real question that he approached the making of this film with. To be totally honest with you, I really think he was leaning towards we are f*cked — for 90 percent of making it. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the problems that we’re facing as far as climate change goes.”
However, Ruffalo said that by the end of filming, DiCaprio came to feel that real solutions were possible, with enough work and effort.
“If you’re losing hope, its because you’re not doing enough,” Ruffalo said. “It takes action.”
DiCaprio, who won an Academy Award for his performance in “The Revenant” last year, and Ruffalo, nominated for “Spotlight” and best known for playing Bruce Banner in the Marvel “Avengers” franchise, have been vocal activists for climate change action and clean energy. Both actors partnered up last year to launch “100%,” a campaign for affordable clean energy.
Last night, “Before the Flood” was screened at the White House lawn, which President Barack Obama and Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine attended. Both Obama and Levine were featured in the documentary as advocates for climate change policies.
Levine, a Democrat, said in the film that Miami Beach is taking steps to combat climate change through a $400 million project that includes raising the city’s roads due to rising sea levels. This was just one of the reasons why it was important for the movie to be shown in Miami, according to DiCaprio.
“We just hope that the message is spread about the importance of this issue here in Florida,” said DiCaprio.
DiCaprio is scheduled to meet with Mayor Levine tonight in Miami Beach at another pre-screening of the film at 7:30 p.m.
“Before the Flood” will arrive in theaters on Oct. 21 and air globally on Oct. 30 on National Geographic Channel.