Don’t Look Up

I just finished the Netflix film Don’t Look Up. I liked it a lot, although there were parts I felt were off-base as metaphors about the crises we currently face on Earth.

The primary thing was the focus on ideas, politics, and beliefs. The lead characters spend a lot of time trying to convince the public of the danger they’re facing. In this framework, effective messaging would lead to public support which in turn leads to top-down political action.

What it misses is the rest of the work. Even people who understand the climate crisis or the biodiversity crisis and agree on the rough outline of how to avert them still need to decide on a million tactical actions. How to organize 100,000 local groups, what to do fast, how much time or energy or money to spend on this task versus that.

There’s not one big rocket-launch that’s going to save the Earth. It’s going to be a trillion little actions; the bike rides, the vegetarian meals, the hard conversations, the train trips, the Zoom meetups, the bushes watered. There will be big steps, too, but they’ll mostly be about making the little actions easier.

I realise that’s probably not how these crises look from Hollywood or even Washington DC. And, understood, it’s a Netflix movie, not a Ken Burns documentary of how we solved the climate crisis. But I would have liked to have seen some of that work on screen.

Otherwise, good movie, worth watching.

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