Sunday, September 24, 2023

Cate Blanchett Vs. Climate Change


Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett is co-hosting a new, two-season climate change podcast launching on Amazon’s Audible ahead of Earth Day.

The Climate of Change podcast, hosted by Cate Blanchett and climate entrepreneur and activist Danny Kennedy, is set to launch on Audible in April. The platform has ordered two seasons of the series, its first climate change-themed podcast.

The announcement comes after Blanchett co-starred in the runaway Adam McKay Netflix hit Don’t Look Up, which took a cynical approach to the climate conversation.

Climate of Change

Blanchett, 52, has been lending her voice to the climate fight for years. She launched the Who On Earth Cares campaign in 2007 in partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation. The award-winning actor, producer, and artistic director is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and a lifetime member of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Blanchett is also a strong supporter of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and received a Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos for her work with UNHCR.

Her co-host, Kennedy, is CEO of New Energy Nexus and serves as the Managing Director for the California Clean Energy Fund.

Produced under Blanchett’s Dirty Films company in association with StoryHunter, Climate of Change will also feature music from award-winning British musician Imogen Heap.

“This podcast is a joyous extension of a long-standing friendship that all of us at Dirty Films have had with the wonderful Danny Kennedy,” Blanchett said in a statement.

“Danny’s knowledge about and passion for climate solutions is infectious, and our experience developing this project with the folks at StoryHunter for Audible has been a shot in the arm – and has gone a long way to tempering our eco-anxiety,” she said.

Eco-anxiety will play a central role in the series, a theme that’s been exacerbated by other Gen X activists including fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who co-starred with Blanchett in Don’t Look Up.

“Everyone is trying to be positive, talking about 1.5 degrees of global warming,” she told Porter last year. “But 1.5 would still be disastrous. We need to be fucking scared… and demand change; be collectively courageous enough to face that fear and do something about it,” she said.

Blanchett says the film took inspiration from “disastrous presidents”. She’s not giving up on the fight though. “I’m hoping it’s a white-male ghost dance,” she says. “They realize they’re on the edge of extinction and they’re panicking. We’re witnessing them in their death throes, which is why it’s so aggressive and destructive,” she says.

“That’s why people have to vote,” she says. “And exercise their power. I’m sounding like I’m on a soapbox, which I’m not interested in, but it’s important to not give in. I’m not giving up hope. As I say to my kids [on climate change], if we’re going out, how do we choose to go out? It’s a terrible conversation to have with your 13-year-old, isn’t it? But anyway. We do laugh around the dinner table. That’s what’s good about Adam’s film. You have to laugh.”

Climate action isn’t generational

For years, Millennials and Gen Z have been identified as the generations most concerned about climate change, but recent data reveals Gen X has long been a driving force in climate action.

A study published last year found 63 percent of Gen Xers prioritize climate change and think it should be a top concern for protecting future generations. This was just 4 percent less than Gen Z.

Another study published last September found the stereotypes about older generations not being concerned with climate issues weren’t true.

That research, conducted by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and New Scientist magazine, revealed that 70 percent of people surveyed, regardless of generation, found climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental issues were all notable enough to warrant lifestyle changes. For Baby Boomers, the number was higher than it was amongst Gen Z. Sixty-six percent of Gen X said they were willing to make significant changes to their lifestyle to address these issues—a higher percentage than Millennials.

“There are many myths about the differences between generations – but none are more destructive than the claim that it’s only the young who care about climate change,” Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, and lead author of the study said in a statement.

“When Time magazine named Greta Thunberg their person of the year in 2019, they called her a ‘standard bearer in generational battle’, which is reflective of the unthinking ageism that has crept into some portrayals of the environmental movement. But, as I examine in my new book, Generations, these stereotypes collapse when we look at the evidence.”

Duffy says that older generations have been largely left out of the conversation even though they tend to be more hopeful about effective climate action.

“There is virtually no difference in views between generations on the importance of climate action, and all say they are willing to make big sacrifices to achieve this. What’s more, older people are actually less likely than the young to feel that it’s pointless to act in environmentally conscious ways because it won’t make a difference. Parents and grandparents care deeply about the legacy they’re leaving for their children and grandchildren – not just their house or jewellery, but the state of the planet. If we want a greener future, we need to act together, uniting the generations, rather than trying to drive an imagined wedge between them,” he said.

And that tone is expected to come through as Blanchett and Kennedy unpack the climate crisis.

“We hope that our listeners enjoy hearing the conversations as much as we have enjoyed having them,” Blanchett said.


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