“Don’t Look Up” Brings Up A Crisis We Aren’t Doing Enough About


Clare Daudelin

“Don’t Look Up” is a great movie that indirectly highlights the importance of paying more attention to the climate crisis.

Maddie Burns, Staff Reporter

On Dec. 5, 2021, Netflix released the original movie “Don’t Look Up” featuring A-list celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, and Timothee Chalamet. The film was filled with humor and exceptional acting, but it also included a very important message, a reminder of what our future could look like.

In the movie, an astronomy graduate student and her professor discover a comet and quickly calculate that it is headed straight for Earth. With only six months until this asteroid comes crashing into their lives, they attempt to spread the word of their discovery and to warn the world of what the future will hold if nothing is done to stop it. 

No one is listening. 

They talk on TV shows, do interviews with magazines, and even manage to speak to the president of the United States. Yet her idea of a good solution is to “keep it quiet” because she doesn’t want this deadly asteroid to ruin her chances of being re-elected next term.

No one is listening.

As the days go on, everyone creeps closer to the end of the world — the day the comet will come crashing into the Pacific Ocean, destroying the planet and everyone on it. Scientists are finally able to come to an agreement with the president and make a plan to destroy the asteroid before it hits Earth. But this plan comes to a screeching halt when precious materials are discovered in the asteroid and those in power believe that it is more important to make money off of those materials than to stop the comet from hitting Earth. 

Some American citizens participate in rallies and protests. “Don’t look up!” they chant while wearing hats and holding signs with the same phrase. Because of the mixed information they are given from different news sources, many even believe the asteroid isn’t even real. 

No one is listening. 

Why is no one listening?

Why is no one doing anything?

The parallels between “Don’t Look Up” and real-life are obvious. As climate change continues to take over the world, many scientists are experiencing the same challenges that the scientists in this movie are dealing with. 

Although scientists first presented the theory of global warming in 1896 and had evidence to support this theory by 1938, many people didn’t have even a slight understanding of what climate change was until 1988. That summer there were record high temperatures leading to more interest in the growing problem from the general public. 

And that doesn’t mean everyone today thinks the climate crisis is a life-threatening problem. According to the Pew Research Center, 20% of the world believes that climate change is a minor threat and 9% believe it’s not a threat at all. In the United States, these numbers look slightly different with 23% of people believing that climate change is only a minor threat while 16% see it as no threat.

For those who do see climate change as a worldwide problem, these statistics can be hard to believe. Especially with the impacts many have recently witnessed or experienced due to this crisis.

It seems like almost every summer there are record-breaking temperatures compared to previous years. The warmest years on record have been 2016 and 2020 caused by the average temperature of Earth rising 2 degrees Fahrenheit in a little over 100 years. Because of this, droughts and wildfires are becoming more frequent. 

These problems we face now will only continue to grow as time goes on. Based on research from NASA, as temperatures continue to shoot up to dangerous levels, the effects will get worse with time is the intensity of storms.

As the surface of the Earth rises in temperature, more water vapor is ending up in the atmosphere, meaning that as storms form they will become more powerful. Higher temperature levels are also causing warmer oceans and increasing the power of tropical storms. 

If we continue to ignore these effects, not to mention all the other problems caused because of climate change, it will soon be too late. Some scientists don’t believe we have much time to combat the damage we’re causing, including the UN, which believes we need to make a substantial amount of progress with this crisis no later than 2030

It’s not just up to us to make a difference, but those in power as well. 67% of U.S. citizens believe that the United States federal government isn’t doing enough to combat this crisis. If U.S. citizens and the American government all do their part in fighting against this climate change, there is hope that a difference can be made.

Director Adam McKay was inspired to write “Don’t Look Up” due to the lack of coverage on the climate crisis. His goal for this film was to bring awareness to the problem we’re facing, and that’s exactly what he did. For those who have an interest in climate change or want a better understanding of the topic, “Don’t Look Up” is an excellent choice. 

“Don’t Look Up” is more than a movie, it’s a call to action. It is a reminder that if we continue to deny the truth, push these climate problems aside, and refuse to make a change the result could be disastrous.