On September 24, the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative teamed with UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and actor Ian Somerhalder to produce a documentary on climate change. Momentum for Change illuminates activities underway across the globe that are moving the world toward a highly resilient, low-carbon future.
Christiana Figueres blogged about the release of the documentary. Her message was retweeted 59 times and users selected it as a favorite 36 times. In comparison, Ian Somerhalder’s own tweet was retweeted over 3,000 times and added as a favorite by more than 5,000 twitter users. This discrepancy is likely due to the lopsided number of followers Figueres and Somerhalder have, 43,700 and 5,410,000 respectively.
Does it matter who the information comes from as long as Momentum for Change’s message is being spread? By choosing Ian Somerhalder as the narrator, Momentum for Change increased their documentaries exposure exponentially. More people will now see this important video than if a non- celebrity narrated the film.
Celebrities use their status as public figures to spread awareness about many causes, including climate change. Many celebrities deeply care about climate change issues and make strategic career choices to educate their fans on these important issues. In 2006, Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming was documented in An Inconvenient Truth. The film went on to win several awards including the Academy Award for Best Documentary and the HUMANITAS prize by making significant contribution to the human family by communicating values, forming consciences and motivating human behavior. The film ultimately grossed US$50 million worldwide.
Leonardo DiCaprio, award winning actor and UN Messenger of Peace in the field of climate change, spoke at the UN Climate March in September. He stated that clean air and a livable climate are “inalienable human rights” and that we can either make history by changing our actions or be vilified by the consequences. DiCaprio pledged US$7million towards ocean conservation projects and his foundation is supporting the Green World Rising film series focusing on solutions to the climate crisis.
Celebrities can utilize their financial resources and public appeal to further the goals of the UNFCCC by educating their fans about climate change and actions that can be taken to limit it.