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“Don’t Look Up” is a hit on Netflix. Is it also a win for the climate?

Netflix announced on Wednesday that Don’t look up, a satirical film about our indifferent approach to dealing with global catastrophe, became the second-best movie of all time.

The film, co-created by director Adam McKay and journalist David Sirota, continues to dominate (or at least in) the cultural conversation a month after its release. Many activists see this as a victory for climate awareness – including some climate scientists and perhaps most eloquently the filmmakers themselves.

McKay told journalist Eric Holthaus which he “literally made Don’t look up for the climate community. “Okay, when you’re making a film for the right group of people – whether they’re journalists or scientists or activists – who have spent years deeply invested in the nuances and frustrations of the media. After all, you certainly won’t please everyone.

On Wednesday, a posts in New York Times described a story in which the film’s producers received some criticism for climate action website they created to go along with the movie. The points of contention will be familiar to anyone in the aforementioned niche: too much focus on individual lifestyle choices like diet and energy use at home, not enough on government action, and social transformation. Renowned climate activist Peter Kalmus Announcement on Twitter that he is collaborating with McKay to refine suggested action points.

The point is – as I noted in My magazine when the film first came out – this dilemma illustrates the pitfalls of trying to turn a social campaign out of a work of art and vice versa. If Don’t look up interpreted as a boisterous call to action, the fact that (spoiler alert!) everyone dies in a fiery explosion at the end of the film is a confusing choice. It’s a logical and effective conclusion to the film’s fictional plot, but delivers a rather one-sided message in the context of climate advocacy.

We can all agree on one thing: It’s certainly remarkable for a movie that “makes the climate community” a mainstream commercial success. Even Julia Fox like it!

https://www.salon.com/2022/01/14/dont-look-up-is-a-netflix-hit-is-that-also-a-win-for-the-climate_partner/ “Don’t Look Up” is a hit on Netflix. Is it also a win for the climate?

Caroline Bleakley

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