Leonardo DiCaprio, an admirably passionate climate change activist with more than enough credentials to prove his clout in the field, turned a few heads with a controversial comparison during a United Nations event on Friday. DiCaprio, a UN Messenger of Peace, gave a speech during the opening ceremony celebrating the signing of the Paris Agreement and attempted to draw a startling parallel. "[Abraham Lincoln] was speaking before the U.S. Congress to confront the defining issue of his time: slavery," DiCaprio told the audience, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. "Remarkably, his words ring as true today as when applied to the defining crisis of our time: climate change."
DiCaprio also kicked off the speech with a direct quote from President Abraham Lincoln's historic moment, excerpted below:
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. As our case is new, so as we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country."
Climate change is, of course, dire. There is simply no way of logically denying the continued impact of humans' addiction to fossil fuels on future generations' ability to survive, let alone enjoy that survival. However, as these statements may soon show, comparing anything to the continued pains of slavery is no way to go when making bold political statements. We need climate change action, like, yesterday so let's leave the controversial (and unwarranted) comparisons out of it and get back to work:
Indeed. Now let's please make an effort to not provide likely ammo for detractors in the form of potentially offensive comments, i.e. comparing climate change to slavery. Saying stuff like that won't help the (very worthy) cause at all.