Big media stifles environmentalism

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e all know by now that Leonardo DiCaprio has been a strong advocate for climate change action for a number of years. His most recent attempt at environmentalism donned his Academy Award acceptance speech a couple weeks ago.

However, some people may have forgotten how Leo received some serious flak last December. The CBC identified various tweets from ‘environmentalists’ who stubbornly pointed out that the extreme weather conditions that Leonardo noticed in Alberta, while filming The Revenant, waere merely the result of a Chinook — a warm gust of wind that hits Southern Alberta on a regular basis. Albertans insist that, no, it wasn’t the dooming effects of climate change. 

However, what they call a “cringe-worthy” misidentification seems to be more of a manufactured distraction from the real issue here: climate change. The topic that no one really seems to want to talk about; the topic that could potentially have a direct influence on big business, oil, and even capitalism itself.

The documentary Merchants of Doubt shows how the media plays an integral part in establishing doubt. This was done in the past when cigarettes were proven to cause cancer; however, think tanks were able to generate enough controversy over the issue that scientific consensus was put into question during following decades. This is the same science that we put our utmost faith and belief into. So how is it that as soon as a corporation denies the findings, it becomes ‘junk science’ and we begin to have our doubts?

The fear surrounding a loss of jobs and income is very real for the citizens of this economy.

Think tanks are employed by the big oil corporations to use the same tactics used in the cigarette case, in order to maintain their relevance in the capitalist regime.

I’d be willing to venture a guess that the CBC article is influenced by the Albertan oil and gas sector, which makes up a significant amount of the revenue of this province. The fear surrounding a loss of jobs and income is very real for the citizens of this economy.

Another CBC article said that environmentalists themselves are the ones cringing at his environmental speech; however, Greenpeace, one of the strongest advocates of eliminating our impact on the environment, showed their support for Leo on social media. From this, I’d surmise that our very own CBC is perpetuating the doubt on climate change.

Albertans in the oil and gas sector are quick to defend their position in the economy. Especially with remarks to the extent of, “What runs your car? Who makes the plastic that your computer is built from?” While that may be enough to quiet some in their shame of hypocrisy, it’s time to place more value on that planet that we all share, rather than the commodities pushed by corporations. Just like in a failed relationship, we have to let go of the past to have a future.

In the end, DiCaprio may not fully understand what a Chinook is, but that doesn’t matter. He is using his fame and prestige for good, by influencing record-breaking retweets in minutes, and by spreading the message to 34 million Oscar viewers, surely he is seen as an influential threat by big oil.

Ultimately, we need a big name like Leonardo DiCaprio more than ever to challenge the conglomerates and mainstream media that perpetuates the biggest pollution of all: doubt.