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Pop culture in climate change

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

There are two significant issues when it comes to tackling climate change. The first one is that no matter the approach, it can't be established fast enough. The second issue is that our attention spans are not long enough to dive deep into one specific topic. So then who is in the most advantageous position?

The impact that pop culture and celebrities have is unprecedented and unique - they have the power to influence people's decisions.

In 2016, Leonard DiCaprio used his Oscar acceptance speech as a pathway to increase climate change awareness. He stated, “Climate change is real; it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” Climate change-related Google searches surged by 261% in just one day. Audience interest surged in just one day, proof of the tremendous impact celebrities have. His Instagram is heavily dedicated to climate change as well. DiCaprio created a nonprofit in support of organizations and projects that combat climate change, protect wildlife, and preserve threatened ecosystems. Since its creation in 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has funded over 200 projects and raised nearly 100 million dollars.

Another celebrity that is prominent in the climate change world is Pharrell Williams. He partnered with Climate Reality for 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth: The World Is Watching, before UN climate negotiations in Paris. During his 24-hour Live Earth concert in 2015, he told the audience, “Climate change is one of the most defining issues of our time that threatens our very existence on Earth.” Aside from this, in an article by Vogue, Williams said, “I want to be really clear that I am not a tree hugger. I think it’s important that every human being—from the most eco-aware person to someone that’s driving a diesel truck—always has a sense of terrestrial awareness. That’s what it boils down to.” Williams has collaborated with G-Star Raw, to make clothing from plastic in the ocean and recycled fishing nets.

Both pop culture and celebrities have a positive and undeniable impact on many subjects. Using those to their advantage is something that could benefit the world and open people's eyes to what is currently happening in the world.

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