Despite not being a huge movie buff, there are a few films which have helped to shape the way in which I live my life. Since childhood ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ has reminded me of the sheer joy in being alive and appreciating my lot, even during the darkest days. In recent years ‘The Bucket List’ and ‘Julie and Julia’ have inspired various adventures and, indeed, my blog. Since moving to the Highlands, I’ve found less and less time to go to the cinema, to the extent that I’ve only set foot inside the Inverness multiplex once during the last three years. My winter evenings have been filled with Gaelic classes, concerts and various photography talks and workshops. Somehow, I just keep forgetting that the cinema is an option. I haven’t been to see ‘The Revenant‘ yet and, on account of its gory content, I will probably have to give it a miss. That said, one thing that hasn’t passed me by is Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech for his Oscar for his performance in this movie. Here’s what he had to say:
“Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history… Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed… Let us not take this planet for granted.” – Leonardo DiCaprio
Climate change is a divisive topic. Many people are adamant that global warming is a myth. Some are perhaps too scared by the prospect of climate change to face up to the reality of it. Others, like me, are convinced that the current warming of our planet has been caused by humankind and action is required to combat what has become the biggest threat facing our species, and indeed, most species on Earth. I could be accused of nostalgia but, when I think back to growing up in the 1990s, I can recall more distinct seasons, warm sunny summers, cold snowy winters and fewer extreme weather events, compared with nowadays. In one of my recent posts, ‘Ice in the Sun: Navigating through a Highland Winter‘, I reflected on the bizarre weather we had in 2015, with some parts of the country experiencing warmer temperatures on the winter solstice than on the summer solstice. We no longer have to look to the polar latitudes for proof that global warming is a reality; the evidence is right under our noses.
We all have a responsibility when it comes to our environmental legacy. I try to do my bit. I recycle as much as I can; I buy organic veg grown locally and follow a vegetarian diet; I drafted this blog whilst travelling by train when I had the option of taking the car; and I only set foot on an aeroplane once in a blue moon. I want to do more but am frustrated by the spartan bus service on the north side of the Black Isle; the absence of Park and Ride facilities in the Inverness area; the eye-watering price tags attached to hybrid and electric cars; and the current UK Government’s anti-renewable energy, pro-fossil fuel agenda. Nevertheless, we have much to be proud of. Scotland is a world leader in the fight against climate change. We’re on track to meet the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable sources by the year 2020 and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42%, relative to 1990 levels, in the same time frame. However, it’s not a battle we can fight alone. A truly international effort is needed if we are to turn the tide against the waves of change lapping at our shores.
Last week I witnessed a rare event. The dark skies above Scotland were momentarily lit up by a bright flash as a meteor burned up in the atmosphere. In the last seven days I’ve also been fortunate enough to witness a stunning display of the aurora borealis from the back door of my house. These astronomical events serve as a gentle reminder of the bigger picture. We are an incredibly evolved species inhabiting a beautiful and remarkable planet brimming with life in a galaxy filled with hostile worlds. We need to break down the political boundaries that divide us and work in harmony to leave an environmental legacy that our children will be proud to inherit. My views on climate change are already firmly established but I hope that Leonardo DiCaprio’s high profile speech and performance in ‘The Revenant’ will strike at the heart of movie goers around the world.