In the run-up to the COP 26 – the climate summit in Glasgow, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a campaign called ‘Don’t choose extinction’ aimed at sending an impactful message to take action against climate change. To this end, UNDP has brought a ferocious, talking dinosaur to the United Nations’ headquarters to urge more climate action from global leaders, in a short film launched as the centrepiece of the campaign.
Dinosaur at the United Nations
Bursting into the iconic General Assembly Hall, famous for history-making speeches by leaders from around the world, the imposing dinosaur tells an audience of shocked and bewildered diplomats and dignitaries that “it’s time humans stopped making excuses and started making changes” to address the climate crisis.
“At least we had an asteroid,” the dinosaur warns, referring to the popular theory explaining dinosaurs’ extinction 70 million years ago. “What’s your excuse?”
This first-ever film to be made inside the UN General Assembly using computer-generated imagery (CGI) features global celebrities voicing the dinosaur in numerous languages, including actors Eiza González (Spanish), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish), and Aïssa Maïga (French).
The dinosaur goes on to highlight how financial support for fossil fuels through subsidies – taxpayers’ money that helps keep the cost of coal, oil and gas low for consumers – is irrational and illogical in the face of a changing climate.
“Think of all the other things you could do with that money. Around the world people are living in poverty. Don’t you think that helping them would make more sense than… paying for the demise of your entire species?” the dinosaur says.
“‘The film is fun and engaging, but the issues it speaks to could not be more serious,” said Ulrika Modéer, Head of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy. “The UN Secretary-General has called the climate crisis a ‘code red for humanity.’ We want the film to entertain, but we also want to raise awareness of just how critical the situation is. The world must step up on climate action if we are to succeed in keeping our planet safe for future generations.”
“The campaign highlights the urgency to move towards clean energy. There is no time to lose.”, says Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India
UNDP’s ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’ campaign and film aim to shine a spotlight on fossil fuel subsidies and how they are canceling out significant progress towards ending climate change and are driving inequality by benefitting the rich.
UNDP conducted a research which showed that the world spends an astounding US $423 billion annually to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers – oil, electricity that is generated by the burning of other fossil fuels, gas, and coal. This could cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccinations for every person in the world, or pay for three times the annual amount needed to eradicate global extreme poverty.
The campaign has listed 19 commonly made ‘excuses’ made by people for not doing enough to address climate change. Not only this, but the organization has walked an extra mile by providing solutions to these excuses, thus making them obsolete. By urging even children to take action against climate change, the campaign is aimed at garnering interest and attention from a wide range of people. Because only with collective action, can we address the climate change crisis.
The campaign and film hope to make the sometimes complex and technical issues relating to Fossil Fuel Subsidies and the climate emergency more accessible. Through a variety of actions that the public is invited to take, the aim is to both educate and give voice to people worldwide.