Friday, July 1, 2022

Movie night explores climate issues

By Luca Gross

The Department of Political Science, The Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and “Late Night for a Planet” hosted a movie night to show Academy Award-nominated Netflix original “Don’t Look Up” in Yokum Tuesday March 29. Students were given the opportunity to ask and answer questions from student-members of the Honor Society and “Late Night for a Planet.”

This film has a star-studded cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothee Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Maryl Streep, Jonah Hill and more. 

The story centers around two astronomers, Dr. Randal Mindy, played by DiCaprio and a doctorate candidate, Kate Dibiasky, played by Lawrence, working out of Michigan State University, who discovers a comet that is headed towards earth. After further calculations it is revealed that the comet will make contact with Earth in six months and 14 days. 

This information is brought to the white house, but ultimately rejected by the president, played by Streep, who does not seem to care. For one reason or another, everyone wants to ignore the scientists and the comet they are trying to warn everyone about. Aside from Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, a member of the Planetary Defense Coordination.

It is made clear through the interactions between the scientist and the media, government, and other important people, that nobody cares. It is either bad publicity, won’t make them any extra dollars or it is just an inconvenience. 

“I personally believe that the lack of change in our society is due to a handful of reasons like ignorance, lack of care, procrastination, political polarization, lack of perspective taking and

increase in political division and instability that hinders actual progress in our society,”  Mac-Olivier Lalanne, a senior political science major and one of three officers of Pi Sigma Alpha, said.

Some people do care, like the CEO of BASH, Peter Isherwell, played by Mike Rylance, but he cares for all the wrong reasons. He believes that the comet can be mined for valuable resources the Earth is no longer rich in.

The film contains high levels of satire throughout major plot points and interactions between characters of certain professions.

“The movie satirizes our response, or lack thereof, to climate change, and additionally there was a lot of discussion and some controversy about the film when it came out in December 2021, so we thought the film would be a good opportunity for a conversation about climate change and about political satire.” John McMahon, assistant professor of political science, co-advisor of the SUNY Plattsburgh chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha said. “We also were excited to have collaboration between Political Science and Environmental Studies for this event.”

The main premise of the movie is the division of society and the public distracting themselves from the truth. There are many issues on which the support of society has been divided whether it be the environment, the government or something else in between.

“I think the film plays a role in the discussion of serious topics by really pointing out where our flaws are as a society and kind of holding up a mirror to society,” Mia Morgillo, senior environmental science major and member of the monthly talk show “Late Night For the Planet” said. “And showing them what possible real consequences could happen if we continue to deny science.” 

The movie encourages viewers to remember we are all here together, sharing the planet with one another and the future generations to come.

“I believe the movie has a plethora of major life lessons and messages to have a singular “real message” including but not limited to, enjoy and cherish what you have because you never know how long you have until it’s gone and that it is important to take any opportunity and chance you got because you would never know if you will get that chance again,” Lalanne said.

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