“I’ve seen upsetting things, that made me understand we no longer live in the pristine Eden’s garden”. We are currently living in the second panel of the painting, which Bosch defined “Humanity before the Flood”. By these words, the Oscar winning actor Leonardo Di Caprio projects us into his own personal travel.
Like the last wayfarer before the sinking of the world, Di Caprio is the bearer of a question: “Is there still time?”. The answer stays suspended and is left to the impeccable images from Fisher Stevens. A punctual, careful and engaging direction drags us in the most remote angles of the planet. The documentary offers a plural reading of the global warming’s debate.
It shows what a simple citizen can do without necessarily waiting for a political feedback; tiny steps such as avoiding bovine meat. A researcher in environmental physics from Bard College explains it all: the 47% of USA soil is specialized for food production. Out of this, the 70% goes to livestock and only the 1% is meant for fruits and vegetables.
Bovine meat is the main cause of deforestation: replacing it with chicken meat would reduce polluting substances in the atmosphere of nearly the 80%, depending on the country. Yet it’s not enough. The answers must primarily come from the politics.
According to the Paris Agreement, the 195 representatives of the signatory countries have made their effort to contrast the climatic changes, by committing to keep the temperature rise below the 2 degrees within 2020; earmarking over a hundred billion dollars per year as a fund for the search of alternative eco-friendly energy sources; besides, reimbursing the financial losses due to the climatic changes, which gather victims among the poorer countries most of all.
Meanwhile, according to recent studies, it has been exteemed an average rising of the planet temperature between 1,1 and 6,4 °C, compared to the last century, and the documentary enunciates the immediate and tangible effects of it, with no filter.
Di Caprio only offers himself as an observer, aghast with the sight of the bituminous sands of Canada, the semi-melted ice fields of the arctic circle, the remains of the Sumatra forests, where palm tree oil is reaped and sold cheap, destined to fast foods or cosmetics.
Before the Flood is meant to remind us not to forget.