When celebrities come together to raise awareness of a threat to public welfare, great things are meant to happen, but when their output is vile and offensive they screw things up for everybody. It’s time to listen to tomorrow’s leaders not yesterday’s stars.
The people behind the 10:10 campaign probably thought they were onto a winner with a new short film about climate change. It was co-written by Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame) and starred X-Files actress Gillian Anderson and international footballers David Ginola and Peter Crouch.
The film was meant to be a funny way to encourage people to take small acts to reduce their carbon footprint. But when the video burst onto the Internet yesterday it went viral for all the wrong reasons.
This was no clever and engaging, thought-provoking and mind-changing movie. It was a piece of sick, self righteous propaganda that looked like it had been cooked up by a coked-up advertising executive with no sense of reality.
Its main message: “If you are not with us, we will set off explosions that kill you and your children.”
The backlash was fast and furious — not only from climate-change sceptics who used the film to label anyone concerned about climate change as an eco-terrorist (a recurring theme) — but also from other campaigners and the very people the film was meant to convince.
McKibben knows there is a better way to reach hearts and minds. He had just announced that on 10 October people in almost every country on the planet — and all 50 US states — would be organising close to 5500 events to demand a sustainable future.
What is remarkable is that this is an even more than took place last year ahead of the COP15 summit in Copenhagen when the media interest in climate change was at a historical high (see video below for last year’s highlights).
Today, while governments delay the decisive action that is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, citizens around the world are coming together in ever greater numbers to learn about climate change and demand a safer future for themselves and their children.
Many of members of this mass movement are young people who will still be alive as this century draws to a close. They have a right to be angry that their future prospects are being needlessly diminished, but they come instead with a positive message and a can-do attitude.
What these people have to say from their hearts is far more interesting and relevant than the words that millionaire footballers or Hollywood stars speak from scripts in films like 10:10’s (The campaign saw the error of its ways, said sorry and quickly withdrew the film from its website and YouTube).
10.10 scored a massive own goal and will learn from its stupid mistake. Meanwhile, 350 is the number to watch.