‘Don’t Look Up’ director McKay gives to climate activists

‘Don’t Look Up’ director McKay gives to climate activists

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In director Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” a 2021 satire about two scientists trying in vain to warn the world of a planet-destroying comet, the scientists’ desperate plea for action ultimately fails. . not work.

But don’t take that as McKay’s take on the power of activism to change the course of the climate crisis, the existential threat his film was really about.

McKay plans to announce a $4 million donation on Tuesday to the Climate Emergency Fund, an organization working to get money into the hands of activists involved in disruptive demonstrations pushing for faster, more aggressive climate action. It is the largest donation the fund has received since its inception in 2019, and the largest personal gift from McKay. In August, he joined the organization’s board.

Climate change is “extremely alarming, extremely frightening and quickly becomes the only thing I think about on a daily basis, even as I write and direct or produce scripts,” McKay said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

From the overthrow of monarchies to labor movements and the civil rights era, activism is an “incredibly kinetic, powerful, transformative” force that has shaped change throughout history, he said.

The Climate Emergency Fund has awarded $7 million to organizations that support primarily volunteer climate activists around the world. Those activists have gone to great lengths to march through the streets of France urging people to “look up” — a reference to McKay’s film — to demonstrations on the water near Senator Joe Manchin’s boat in West Virginia about the need for federal climate legislation.

The aim of the fund is to bridge more traditional wealthy donors with activists willing to make a statement — two groups that don’t always agree, said Margaret Klein Salamon, the fund’s executive director and a clinical psychologist.

As for the ending of “Don’t Look Up,” Salamon said it was a “major psychological, cultural intervention” that highlighted the stakes of the climate fight.

McKay, for his part, said he is hesitant to attribute any direct action to his film. But he sees both film and disruptive protest as actions that change culture, which can be a big step toward policy advocacy. The film, he said, sparked an incredible response around the world from ordinary viewers and scientists who have championed climate action for decades.

“It was really nice to see people who have been fighting this battle for a lot longer than I feel really seen,” he said.

McKay, 54, began his career writing comedies and became known for films such as ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Step Brothers’. In recent years, his work has taken on a more political tone, although it still lies in the realm of comedy – after dark. He wrote and directed “The Big Short,” about the 2008 financial collapse, and “Vice,” about the influence of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and is the executive producer of “Succession,” the television show about a media mogul and are children who want to take over the company.

He says his own climate awakening came several years ago when he read a report from the International Panel on Climate Change that highlighted the huge differences that would occur if the planet warmed by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) instead of 1. .5 degrees (2.7 degrees Celsius). Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial level. It was the moment, he said, when he went from someone who was concerned about climate change to someone who saw it as a predicament.

In the years since, the situation has only become more dire, he said, pointing to the drying up of the Colorado River, flooding in Pakistan and the summer heat wave in Europe as proof that action is urgent.

“I do believe, without exaggeration, scientifically speaking, this is the greatest challenge, the story, the threat, in human history,” he said.


Associated Press climate and environmental awareness receives support from several private foundations. Read more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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