In Hinblick auf den kürzlich verstorbenen Wissenschaftler Stephen Hawking fordert Autor Vicente Lopez Ibor Mayor mehr „echten“ Aktivismus in Hollywood, wie zum Beispiel den von Leo, der sich seit 20 Jahren für den Kampf gegen den Klimawandel stark macht.
Stephen Hawking was the kind of celebrity activist we need more of
Celebrities can push the needle on the world’s major issues, but it must be backed by real substance
Hollywood loves nothing more than dystopia and disaster: Deep Impact. Armageddon. Dante’s Peak. Contagion. But the real dystopia is creeping up on us through climate change. The real disaster movie is the slowly unfolding global warming. We are the stars of this movie – but not all of us realise it just yet.
The example of figures like Stephen Hawking in the realm of science and Leonardo Di Caprio in the field of clean energy (who incidentally yesterday announced his investment in a landmark eco-friendly hotel), prove that global issues can indeed be mainstreamed provided there is the right commitment and authenticity behind it.
After all, we are living through a moment where celebrity activism – or celebtivism, as I like to call it, is driving political conversations and social change. Me Too, Times Up and black dresses at awards ceremonies are all the latest and most visible of these campaigns, but this is celebtivism coming of age.
It is the maturity of something that has been building for over a century: celebtivism is almost as old as celebrity itself.
To see how Hollywood can do celebtivism right to promote the clean energy transition, Leonardo DiCaprio provides a rare example. His advocacy became best-known after his 2016 Oscar acceptance speech, but he has been committed to fighting climate change – with words, actions and money, including the building of an eco-resort in Belize – for a very long time.
He established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (a non-profit organization devoted to promoting environmental awareness) in 1998. It is difficult for us, 20 years later, to realize just how ahead of the curve he was.
And his foundation is far from a PR stunt – that much is clear, even to the most cynical observer. It has worked on projects in over 40 countries and has produced two short web documentaries, Water Planet and Global Warning, as well as him exec producing Cowspiracy and the 2016 film Before The Flood, documentary film examining various aspects of global warming.
In 2013 he held the “11th Hour” benefit, which became the world’s highest-grossing environmental charity event ever held, raising nearly $40 million.
And through this all, he has stayed in regular contact with noted researchers – such as Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, who says of DiCaprio “I have talked with him and his folks frequently over the phone”.
Hollywood, celebrities and social media can push the needle on some of the world’s most major issues. But as the example of Stephen Hawking reminds us, it must be backed by real substance and the kind of authentic engagement that makes the difference between those that campaigns that resonate with millions and go viral and those that do not. That is the kind of Celebtivism our planet needs.