Most of us know Leonardo DiCaprio as the lovable Jack Dawson, reckless Jordan Belfort, or legendary explorer Hugh Glass.  But over his career, Leo has made another, albeit lesser known, name for himself: a champion for environmental change.

In 2014, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed DiCaprio as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change.  Ban cited DiCaprio’s credibility in the environmental movement and highlighted his “considerable platform to amplify its message.”  Through this platform, Leo uses his celebrity to share an urgent message with the world about the state of our planet in the new movie Before the Flood.

Before the Flood follows Leo as he explores the impact of climate change on communities and ecosystems around the world.  Through the lens of Leo’s own journey to understand the science, politics, and social movements surrounding global warming, the film provides a climate change crash course to its viewers. During his travels, DiCaprio sits down with influential players such as President Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk.  He witnesses Greenland’s melting ice caps and Indonesia’s dwindling forests, and learns about the carbon tax, Paris accords, and energy storage technology.

While meeting with DiCaprio in India, Dr. Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment, shares an alarming statistic: approximately 300 million people in India live without power — and electricity consumed by one American at home is equivalent to that consumed by 34 citizens of India. Narain and DiCaprio’s conversation highlighted that the politics and corporate influence on climate change is just one layer of the problem, and a culture of mass consumption may be at the core of it. Narain looks to the United States to invest in solutions that can be leveraged by developing nations who may not have the luxury in choosing how they produce energy.
Overall, Before the Flood provides an informative overview of the challenges nations and communities face as a result of climate change — shrinking shorelines, conflict over water access, flooding in coastal cities…the list doesn’t stop there. DiCaprio’s message is effective as he approaches the issues from a very human angle. Despite his own doubts about his ability to make a difference, he charges forward in his mission, providing viewers with the opportunity to make themselves aware of key climate issues and stand on the right side of change.