Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • On her 82nd birthday, Jane Fonda was arrested. Approaching the capitol steps, Fonda was grabbed

  • by the capitol police and put into handcuffs. But Fonda wasn't alone. She and 138 other

  • people were arrested, and they were all there for a reason: the U.S. government's dismal

  • response to the climate crisis. This kind of celebrity direct action is rare, and especially

  • among the Hollywood elite who are advocating for climate action as their new pet cause.

  • (Play some clips), And because of this it's more important than ever to dive into the

  • celebritization of the climate crisis. Today we're going to figure out if celebrity advocacy

  • is actually working as well as determine who is actually doing the work to build the movements

  • we need to effectively foster a just transition.

  • This video was made possible by the people who support me on Patreon. Get early access

  • to all my videos by becoming an OCC Patron

  • Are Celebrities Influencing Climate Action? Before we dive into the specifics of celebrity

  • climate action culture, we need to first understand if their advocacy is even effective. The answer

  • isit's complicated. Indeed, as one paper puts it, celebrities like Al Gore and Leonardo

  • DiCaprio have become the new polar bears, assuming the imagery of the new harbingers

  • of climate change. But the ramifications of celebrity influence on various environmental

  • issues can differ wildly. With their widely watched personas comes some amount of power

  • as well as the filtering of political ideas and theories of change through that persona.

  • Essentially, celebrities have become nodes through which many people learn about climate

  • issues or perhaps are inspired to take action. So the result of this celebrity influence

  • is very much dependent on the celebrity's politics. Some figureheads like Prince Phillip

  • and David Attenborough champion false ideas of overpopulation and propose neoliberal and

  • eugenicist solutions, while others, like Jane Fonda push for movement-based direct-action

  • to end fossil fuel extraction. The spectrum of celebrity solutions to the climate crisis

  • is almost as broad as the number of climate celebrities. But the way celebrities relate

  • to movements, usually as figureheads rather than as comrades, perpetuates a “heroic

  • individualnarrative that runs counter l to anti-hierarchical, grassroots movement

  • philosophies.

  • The Personal is Hypocritical? With every cry for climate action from a celebrity,

  • comes an equal cry of hypocrisy. This is due, in part, because of the nature of celebrity

  • and our desire for heroic leaders. It positions celebrities as individuals, which means it's

  • easy to delegitimize climate advocacy by attacking the personal actions of celebrities. After

  • all, cries of hypocrisy are extremely effective tools of dismantling movements, especially

  • those focused on the climate crisis. If you somehow have to already have shed all your

  • fossil fuel use in order to start the work of shedding fossil fuels, then very few people

  • will ever take action. But here's the thing, while being mindful of how we use resources

  • and, for those of us in wealthy countries or who have personal wealth, reducing our

  • use of resources is important, it should never be a prerequisite to dismantling the systems

  • of capitalism and environmental destruction. In fact BP invented the carbon footprint so

  • people would think their own lifestyles were to blame and not the exploitative capitalist

  • actions of the 100 companies that emit 71% of the world's greenhouse gasses. Paying

  • attention to our own or a celebrity's carbon footprints will never solve climate change

  • as long as fossil fuel companies continue to build pipelines and pump oil and gas out

  • of the ground. As journalist David Roberts puts it, Leonardo DiCaprio's carbon footprint

  • is a “fart in the windcompared to major corporations and fossil fuel companies. That

  • being said, Hollywood elites are still elites. Hopping around on private jets, partying on

  • yachts, and lounging in lavish mansions is unethical in a world where whole nations are

  • getting swallowed up by sea level rise, and millions are starving. It's hard to take

  • celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio or Al Gore seriously when they seem so disconnected from

  • the masses. A world without climate change and inequality means a world without yachts

  • or private jets. Much like Kim Kardashian driving fashion trends, celebrities have the

  • power to drive climate action trends, and their personal actions can signal possible

  • avenues of change. So, let's look at both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jane Fonda in order

  • to understand two very different celebrity approaches to climate action.

  • The DiCaprio Way: After leaning over the bow of the Titanic

  • declaring himself king of the world, Leonardo DiCaprio decided to do something about that

  • world. So, like most rich people he started a donor-advised fund, and he called it The

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Since 1998 DiCaprio's foundation has handed out $100 million in

  • grants to over 200 projects. But if you've watched my video on billionaires you'll

  • know this isn't the whole story. While $100 million is great for the cause, DiCaprio is

  • often reaping the benefits both in terms of tax dodging and reputation. The watchdog group,

  • Charity Watch, decried the lack of transparency of the fund, writing that the Leonardo DiCaprio

  • Foundation uses its donor advised fund status toavoid the financial and other transparency

  • requirements that must be met by stand-alone charities.” That being said, DiCaprio has

  • made a number of speeches and produced films calling attention to the climate crisis. But

  • like many of his elite friends, his framing of the crisis and the solutions he proposes

  • often veer on the side of quick techno-fixes that ignore the systemic drivers of climate

  • change like capitalism. In short, DiCaprio certainly isn't doing terribly compared

  • to the actions of other celebrities, but it's not possible for the multimillion dollar galas

  • he throws and flying around on private jets to address the root causes of climate change.

  • If anything, they highlight the importance of finding another way to wield celebrity

  • and fame to build movements and action. Which is where Jane Fonda comes in.

  • The Fonda Way: In the fall of 2019, Fonda decided to turn

  • her climate despair into action. She set up a base in a Washington DC hotel room near

  • the White House and for 4 months she held weekly climate rallies on the doorstep of

  • the U.S. government, often ending in arrests. Unlike big ticket galas or UN speeches, Fonda

  • was wielding her fame and privilege to build a movement. Using the shocking headlines of

  • her multiple arrests, as well as enticing her celebrity friends like Sally Fields and

  • Lily Tomlin, Fonda grounded climate action in direct action. At the same time, Fonda

  • seems to be trying to take a back seat, offering her podium to indigenous activists and activists

  • of color. In essence, Fonda knows that where she goes headlines will follow, so she seems

  • to be using that spotlight to illuminate the real work of those at the frontlines of the

  • climate struggle. Like her recent appearance at the Line 3 protests. At the end of the

  • day, however, no one person will save us from climate catastrophe. We all need to lower

  • our expectations about the impact that celebrities can have on movements. At best, they can actually

  • be part of a movement, like anyone else, and use their celebrity to raise funds for democratic

  • distribution, create media to shift mainstream narratives about injustice, or get attention

  • on specific campaigns. At worst, they can use shady fundraising methods for tax breaks

  • and good PR.

  • Heroes and Movements: The true heroes are not just one person, they

  • are movements across the world blocking fossil fuel infrastructure, divesting from capitalist

  • exploitation, and building communities based in abundance. The water protectors and the

  • hundreds of people blocking the destructive progress of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline are

  • the ones who we should be paying attention to. These are the people who, for over 500

  • years, have fought the systems of exploitation that now fuels the climate crisis. The Hollywood

  • elite can certainly do their part by supporting and lifting up these movements, but the capitalist-imperialist

  • system that underpins our climate crisis will never fall at the hands of the famous. They're

  • famous because of that system. Celebrities need to get their hands dirty, listen to those

  • that have known the land for thousands of years, and struggle directly for a world where

  • land, air, and life are deeply treasured.

  • Unfortunately, videos like these, while very important, do terribly with the YouTube algorithm

  • and sponsors don't want to touch them. But there is a way you can help. Becoming a patreon

  • member helps Our Changing Climate stay afloat and independent. As an OCC patron, you'll

  • not gain early access to videos, but also special behind the scenes updates, and a members

  • only discord channel. In addition, each month my supporters vote on an environmental group

  • that I then donate a portion of my monthly revenue to. Patreon supporters are the financial

  • backbone of the Our Changing Climate operation, without them I wouldn't be able to take

  • creative risks and dive into difficult topics. So if you want to help keep this channel alive

  • or are feeling generous, head over to patreon.com/ourchangingclimate or use the link in the description and become

  • an OCC patron. If you're not interested or aren't financially able, then no worries!

  • You can help by subscribing, liking the video, and commenting. I hope you enjoyed the video,

  • and I'll see you in two weeks!

On her 82nd birthday, Jane Fonda was arrested. Approaching the capitol steps, Fonda was grabbed

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 US climate dicaprio celebrity leonardo dicaprio action climate action

Why Celebrities Won't Save Us (From Climate Change)

  • 40 3
    joey joey posted on 2021/07/03
Video vocabulary