Experts question DiCaprio's eco-documentary

Vancouver, Canada (GLOBE-Net) – A new documentary narrated and co-produced by film star Leonardo DiCaprio is exploring how humanity impacts the earth’s ecosystems and what people can do to change the course of environmental degradation.

Referring to the last moment when change is possible, The 11th Hour features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau, in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders.

“We reached out to independent experts on the front lines of what could be the greatest challenge of our time – the collapse of our planet’s ecosystems and our search for solutions to create a sustainable future,” Leonardo DiCaprio said in a statement.

The film considers the challenge of climate change, and the related issues of deforestation, and air and water pollution. The impact of human innovation on the earth is illuminated with stark imagery.

“It was the human mind that was the key to our very survival,” David Suzuki, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, says in the film. “The one thing, the key to our survival and our taking over the planet, was the human brain. But because the human mind invented the concept of a future, we’re the only animal on the planet that actually was able to recognize: we could affect the future by what we do today.”

DiCaprio collaborated with filmmakers Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen to produce the film, netting over 150 hours of interviews with scientists, designers, historians, and thinkers.

“I believe this could be like the civil rights movement 40 years ago,” says Nadia Conners. “We have to come together and show our leaders we want change while also showing each other that we are unified in saving the life support systems that we all depend on.”

The film posits that in many ways, humanity has detached itself from nature, and grown accustomed to consuming resources without thinking about the long-term consequences. It considers the role of the industrial revolution, notably the invention of the steam engine, as a key moment signaling a major environmental shift.

Population growth is also discussed as a precursor to environmental stress:

“Slowly our population crept up until we hit our fist one billion people,” says Thom Hartmann, author and radio talk show host, in the film. “Our second billion only took us a hundred and thirty years. Our third billion took only 30 years, 1960. It’s amazing when you think about it. When John Kennedy was inaugurated, there were half as many people on the planet as there are today.”

The loss of forests and the impact of deforestation on climate change is also emphasized, with a note about the huge footprint of Canada’s logging industry: “Forest loss is also affecting climate change because forests are the greatest terrestrial storehouse of carbon. So, logging in Canada alone puts as much carbon into the atmosphere as all of the cars in California every year,” Tzeporah Berman, Program Director for ForestEthics, says in the film.

However, despite these dire warnings, the film suggests that solutions are possible, and emphasizes the role of innovative technologies to reduce the human footprint on the planet. The film warns that it’s the human race itself that has the most to lose from failing to act on climate change:

“It seems so obvious now but I was surprised to find out that humans are facing an extinction crisis along with all other life; that we are not excluded from catastrophic events; that, in fact, we are the most vulnerable even though we have technology. We learned that the earth is going to be fine. It’s us, human beings, that are in trouble,” says Leila Conners Petersen.

Leonardo DiCaprio concludes its our responsibility to find solutions to environmental degradation:

“During this critical period of human history, healing the damage of industrial civilization is the task of our generation. Our response depends on the conscious evolution of our species and this response could very well save this unique blue planet for future generations,” DiCaprio concludes in the film.

For more information on the 11th Hour, visit

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