SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – In director Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” a 2021 satire about two scientists who try in vain to warn the world about a planet-destroying comet, the scientists don’t make desperate pleas for action end. work
But don’t take that as McKay’s take on the power of activism to change the course of the climate crisis, the existential threat his film was really about.
McKay plans on Tuesday to announce a $4 million donation to the Climate Emergency Fund, an organization dedicated to putting money into the hands of activists engaged in disruptive demonstrations that encourage faster and more aggressive climate action. This is the largest donation the fund has received since its inception in 2019, and McKay’s largest personal gift. He joined the organization’s board in August.
Climate change is “very scary, very scary, and quickly becoming the only thing I’m thinking about on a daily basis, even when I’m writing scripts and directing or producing,” McKay said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
From the overthrow of monarchies to labor movements and the Civil Rights Era, activism is an “incredibly kinetic, powerful, transformative” force that has created change throughout history, he said.
The Climate Emergency Fund has awarded $7 million to organizations that primarily support volunteer climate activists around the globe. Those activists have done everything from marching in the streets of France to urge people to “look up” — a reference to McKay’s film — to demonstrating on the water near West Virginia’s boat Sen. Joe Manchin on the need for federal climate legislation.
The fund’s goal is to provide a bridge between more traditional wealthy donors and activists looking to make a statement — two groups that don’t always see eye to eye, said Margaret Klein Salamon, the fund’s executive director and a clinical psychologist.
Regarding “Don’t Look Up” ending “Don’t Look”, Salamon said it was an “important cultural, psychological intervention” that put a stake in climate fighting on stark display.
McKay, for his part, said he is reluctant to attribute any direct action to his film. But he sees film and disruptive protest as culture-changing acts, which can be a big step towards influencing policy. The film, he said, provoked an incredible reaction around the world from ordinary viewers and scientists who have been fighting for the climate for many years.
“It was really beautiful to see people who have been fighting this fight for a lot longer than it really seems to me,” he said.
McKay, 54, started his career in comedy writing and became famous for films such as “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers”. In recent years, his work has taken on a more political tone, although it is still in the realm of humor — if dark. He wrote and directed “The Big Short,” about the 2008 financial collapse, and “Welfare,” about the influence of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and is the executive producer of “Succession,” the TV show about a media mogul and his children who want to take over the company.
He says his own climate awakening came several years ago when he read a report from the International Panel on Climate Change which highlighted the huge differences that would occur if the planet warmed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) instead of 1.5 degrees (2.7 degree). Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. It was the moment, he said, that he went from someone who was concerned about climate change to someone who saw it as a hair-on-fire situation.
In the years since, the situation has escalated, he said, citing the drying up of the Colorado River, floods in Pakistan and Europe’s summer heat wave as evidence that action is urgently needed.
“I really believe, without any hyperbole, from a scientific point of view, this is the greatest challenge, situation, threat in human history,” he said.
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