“Don’t Look Up,” a movie released at the end of 2021, is a satire about how real-life environmental concerns such as climate change and the current COVID-19 pandemic are ignored and deemed not real issues by our society. Grad student Kate Dibiasky, played by Jennifer Lawrence, discovers the existence of an extinction-level comet. She and her advisor, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, go on multiple media shows and visit the president to present this discovery. The entire time, nobody takes their scientific findings seriously. Later in the movie, the country becomes divided by a group of people whose slogan is “just look up,” who believe in the comet and side with the scientists, and the “don’t look up” group that sides with the president, who knows that the Earth will be destroyed, but also that she is one of the few exorbitantly rich humans who get to survive the end of civilization by avoiding it on a special spaceship.
Coincidentally, in our world, an asteroid more than twice the size of the Empire State Building passed Earth safely at more than 3,000 feet around Jan. 18. Unlike the comet that was headed to Earth in “Don’t Look Up,” this asteroid does not pose an actual threat to us, but it was still unusual that something so big was able to get more than five times as far away as the moon, or about 1.2 million miles away, from Earth. The asteroid passed us going at a speed of 43,000 miles per hour. Scientists say that this asteroid will not get this close to the Earth again for at least another 200 years. Although, according to calculations, the impact of an asteroid of this size would probably trigger the end of civilization.
Although “Don’t Look Up” was partly a comedy, there are some deeper takeaways to consider from the movie. Some parts of the movie were hilarious, but the more the viewer considered what was going on and related it to the real world, the scarier the movie seemed. We are in an era where there is a real divide between people regarding scientific issues such as climate change and its consequences. In fact, some people do not think that the consequences are real. Another issue that comes to mind for many during this movie is the pandemic, and where people fall when it comes to the science behind vaccinations and masks. Some people understood the dark humor portrayed throughout the movie and made these connections while others did not. It also showed the repeated misuse of news and media that we experience in our day to day lives. While what is right and what is wrong can be confusing currently, we recommend reaching out to experts in their fields when it comes to questioning climate change or if a vaccination is safe or not. They’re experts for a reason!