Dubai: Hollywood heavyweights Robert DeNiro and Forest Whitaker believe each and every person can make a difference when it comes to staving off climate change and ecological harm in the future.
Theh noted actors offered their support for the environment at a Climate Change Forum at the World Government Summit on the first of the three-day event in Dubai on Sunday morning.
The key is real, substantive action, they said, whether it be through the voting box or through grassroots efforts to protect and preserve the environment.
DeNiro had some harsh words for the revised climate change stance by the leadership in his own country and its ecological record over the past year in remarks to the World Government Summit.
The Hollywood veteran took aim at US President Donald Trump for an unenthusiastic approach to climate change.
Trump signalled early in his administration that he was not in favour of the Paris Climate Accord as agreed upon by 196 countries, including the UAE, in late 2015 to hold carbon emissions to less than two per cent in coming decades.
“My country will eventually cure itself by voting our dangerous leader and the knighted ministers out of office. Then we can listen,” DeNiro said.
“I’m not here to talk about America’s politics, but America’s policies have an effect on the crisis we’re here to engage. Under Trump’s direction, America’s arrogance is doing lasting damage to our planet and we are all paying the consequences. This is not the will of the American people,” DeNiro said.
There is an upside, said DeNiro, who lauded international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by countries such as the UAE who have committed to reduce carbon emissions as part of its commitment to the Paris deal.
“The initiative by the United Arab Emirates to help fund sustainable energy and protect resources is a model of humanitarian response and a template to what a responsible future should look like,” DeNiro said.
DeNiro lauded Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the UAE, who hosted the Climate Change Forum on the sidelines of the government summit.
Accomplished actor Whitaker suggested to delegates that they can start their own environmental movements at the local or regional levels to mark change.
“You have to do actual things that make change,”said Whitaker. “You can do a white board, you can gather individuals to get ideas and stuff on how the movement can begin with other people.”
In Kenya, “thousands of trees were planted” and in India, people planted “66 million trees in 12 hours,” Whitaker said.