‘Don't Look Up’

Adam McKay’s Film in Today’s World

Swapnanil Mukherjee

If one looks at the history of human evolution then he or she can find that nature and its resources played an important role in this entire function. Every invention like the origin of the fire, the wheel, and the weapon of stone was invented with the help of natural resources which were very much needed for the survival of primitive people. Those inventions were evolved for the sake of need. Without those inventions, the lifestyle of those primitive people became full of struggle but in the recent world, the invention has become a part of the profit mechanism. In this competitive world, the invention provides huge profits to corporate giants. Science and research are used to make more money which creates greed for the corporate whales. And these profit-making functions cause huge pressure on the environment.

Coca-Cola and its subsidiaries have been accused of creating severe water shortages for the community by extracting large quantities of water for their factories, affecting both the quantity and quality of water in several districts of India. The company has the largest soft drink bottling facilities in India. Another example comes from the Adani group, If Adani's mine goes ahead it will be one of the largest coal mines in the world and will generate an estimated 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon pollution over its lifetime.

Recently a film named 'Don't Look Up’, directed by Adam McKay, was released on Netflix where Leonardo Dicaprio and Jennifer Lawrence took leading roles. In that film, they played cosmologists, who tried to show the world in various ways that a giant comet was coming toward the earth which could lead entire lives on earth on the path to extinction. They went to the President's office to do something about this issue, at first they didn't understand the gravity of the issue, but then they took the initiative to destroy that asteroid. But the main part was not started at that moment. There was a big company named 'Bash', which found that there were many precious resources in that asteroid which could help them in innovation at a very cheap price by which they would be able to manipulate the world, so they wanted not to destroy that asteroid entirely but they would break that into small pieces and according to them it would not make any harm of the world people. But those two scientists knew that was impossible. When they shouted the truth in front of people they were jailed. There were many aspects of that film, and one of the many aspects is media, this film showed how media turned into a place of entertainment from an institution of finding the truth, how a singer's breaking up and patching up were made a national issue to gain TRP, but no one cared for those two scientists and their concerns regarding the lives of Earth. The most tragic part of this film was when that asteroid was very near to the earth when everyone could see that it was coming, and then the president was also trying to make people believe that it was nothing and advised the people not to look up. But at last, it came to the earth; those two scientists could do nothing despite trying. The world was destroyed by that comet.

But the last part of that film showed the reality, money can't save anyone in the long run. In that film, some so-called big men, the President and the owner of 'Bash', survived that apocalypse and succeed to go to a different planet to live. But there also they were unable to identify the upcoming threats and became a good tiffin for some giant birds of that planet.

The essence of the film can be felt in the present days. Glaciers started to melt and one of the main causes is global warming, which is nothing but a reaction to the exploitation of nature. One of the main reasons for the unlimited exploitation of nature is resource collection. Big giant companies collect it to maximise their profit but they don't even think once about upcoming threats. But there are hopes, that people are becoming aware of these natural issues, and they are making resistance to this exploitation of nature. There is an example of the resistance of the Dongiria Kondh tribe before the Vedanta which is a giant mining company.

Vedanta, a British-India joint venture mining company determined to strip-mine on Niyamgiri hills. Niyamgiri hosts over 300 species of trees, and the forest is home to many endangered species If Vedanta successfully establishes its intention, and then the biodiversity of Niyamgiri will be destroyed. But correspondingly economic growth will rise to the increasing income of Vedanta, and there will be an increase in GDP.

This meaningless obsession with GDP and growth has faced resistance from the tribal groups, as 12 village councils of Dongiria Kondh have rejected the project in their lands, and have hampered the aspirations of Vedanta.

This action of the Dongiria Kondh tribe makes ordinary people hopeful but this cannot be enough. There was a video found on Instagram, shared by NDTV that a big tree in Kerala was cut down by the Kerala government to extend the road, for which more than 100 birds died. In Lataguri, thousands of age-old trees of the Lataguri Forest were cut down to make an over-bridge which was not even needed and most importantly which is still in an unfinished condition. Besides many private resorts flourish by cutting down the jungle where their prime motive is profit maximisation. The local people of Lataguri have tried to make some resistance but political pressure made a huge barrier to oppose it. This is the main reason for the word of Chico Mendes, Environmentalism without class struggle is just gardening. In this superstructure, one can't do anything because the profit mechanism is the main fuel of this superstructure. For this reason, people have to overthrow it first otherwise the world will break into pieces and all will just turn into ashes and blow in the air.

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Vol 55, No. 30, Jan 22 - 28, 2023