It's true; Don't Look Up
In our Boxing Day food coma haze, my family decided to relax in the lounge room of my brother's place and watch a movie. Ranking number 1 on Netflix's trending was Don't Look Up, a long anticipated, A-list film from Adam McKay ( also know for The Big Short).
I giggled and rolled by eyes through the almost 2 and half hour apocalyptic satire where two astronomers discover and raise the alarm of a comet on a destructive collision course with earth, only to be wildly ignored by governments reminiscent of climate change deniers.
Sadly, my reactions were also a reflection the mantra I've taken throughout my career in wildlife science and conservation; "If you don't laugh, you'll cry". I don't think I've ever seen a film that resonated the true essence of what being a scientist is like in the 21st century.
Sure enough, I soon found my twitter feed filled with scientist expressing the same:
It has struck a strong chord with scientific community - most of us working in the biodiversity, climate and, more recently, health space feel very much like we are screaming into a void about what is happening on our planet.
Scientists are frequently dismissed and ignored by our government. Here in Australia funding and support for threatened species has been slashed by the Morrison government. Conserving biodiversity is a tool against climate change but it's constantly left of climate change talk agenda's like COP26 in 2021. Our environmental laws are weak and Environment Ministers chummy with mining, development and logging industries sign away critical habitat for "jobs" and "the economy", only to radically undermine those two benefits in the long-term. Recommendations from the recent Samuel review into Australia's environmental laws (the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) were essentially ignored, despite slamming the government on just how little action was being taken.
Our governments have an appalling track record of protecting Australia's species. Billions, not millions, are required each year to tackle the extinction crisis.
The reality is without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity. Biodiversity loss is our slow moving comet, our frog in a boiling pot moment. We have 10-15 years left to act. Let Don't Look Up be your warning on how we respond as a society and who we elect to drive our future.