Leonardo DiCaprio’s new documentary Before the Flood takes viewers on a global journey through the worsening effects of climate change, and on October 3, he screened the film, which premieres on 21st Century Fox’s National Geographic Channel on Sunday, October 30, for the audience at the White House’s first ever South by South Lawn event and moderated a discussion on the issue with atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe and President Barack Obama.
“Climate change is happening even faster than five or 10 years ago… which means we’re really in a race against time,” Obama said. “But at the end of the day, everyone cares about their kids and their grandkids and the kind of world we pass on to them… If every year we’re doing something that’s making more progress, moving us forward, increasing clean energy, then that’s ultimately how we end up solving this problem.”
DiCaprio, who produced Before the Flood along with Academy Award winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens, spoke along similar lines, emphasizing the scientific consensus surrounding climate change and the necessity of political action.
“[We wanted the film] to be released before this upcoming election, because after firsthand experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change worldwide, we, like many of you here today, realize that urgent action must be taken,” DiCaprio said. “This moment is more important than ever. We must empower leaders who not only believe in climate change but are willing to do something about it.”
In an effort to work with DiCaprio at educating voters on climate change ahead of the presidential election, the National Geographic Channel recently announced a partnership with Rock the Vote and theSkimm to host voter registration events and screenings of Before the Flood at 50 colleges and universities across the country. Attendees will be encouraged to register to vote online at rtvote.com/beforetheflood or by texting “BeforeTheFlood” or “BTF” to RTVOTE (788-683), and “Skimmbassadors” will be on site to register new voters and share their voters’ guide. Nat Geo hopes to register at least 50,000 students through these events.
In addition, the global broadcast premiere of Before the Flood will kick off Nat Geo Channel’s first ever Earth Week, six straight days of primetime programming dedicated exclusively to climate change. Sunday, October 30, will also see the premiere of the new season of the climate change documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which features Hollywood correspondents such as David Letterman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Cecily Strong. The week will continue with nature documentaries, encore presentations, and more.
“Now, the timing of our Earth Week programming event is no coincidence – it is intended to bring climate change to the forefront of the conversation ahead of the U.S. elections,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks. “But for us, climate change transcends politics. It is beyond an American issue. It is a global, human issue that demands attention from leaders in the highest offices all across the world.”
Earth Week comes just more than a year after 21CF announced it would expand its partnership with the National Geographic Society to create National Geographic Partners, a new company bringing together all of the National Geographic media assets, including the globally renowned magazine, the popular social media presences, book publishing businesses, and many more. 27% of all NGP proceeds go toward the National Geographic Society’s grantmaking and research efforts.
“We believe in the Society’s mission of bringing the world to audiences through science, education and exploration,” said 21CF CEO James Murdoch at the time of the announcement. He and Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice both attended the Before the Flood screening and Q&A at South by South Lawn, along with several members from the National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society boards.
View the complete schedule for Earth Week, and watch the complete Q&A with DiCaprio, Obama, and Kayhoe below.