Extinction Rebellion and Amazon Watch have released a short film today titled Guardians of Life: a PSA "for the plight of the Amazon and its indigenous communities." The short film — which is just the first in a series of 12 — is confronting and heartbreaking, much like the climate and ecological emergency itself.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, the film is an alarm call for the deforestation and biodiversity loss that's taking place all over the world as a result of devastating bushfires, droughts, floods, and storms. It isn't surprising that Phoenix is involved in this project. He was recently arrested at a protest organised by Jane Fonda in Washington DC and explained his goal with this film is to raise awareness about the meat and dairy industry's effect on climate change.
We have a personal responsibility to make changes in our own lives and act now.
"The fact is we are clear cutting and burning rainforests and seeing the negative effects of those actions worldwide," Phoenix said in a statement released on Friday. "People don't realise there's still time, but only if we act now and make sweeping changes to our consumption. We can't wait for governments to solve these problems for us. We can't wait until the election to try to make these changes. We have a personal responsibility to make changes in our own lives and act now."
Phoenix stars in the film alongside Rosario Dawson, Matthew Modine Oona Chaplin, Adria Arjona, Albert Hammond Jr, and Q'orianka Kilcher, who all play doctors and surgeons trying to save a fictitious patient.
Guardians of Life starts with a tense scene in an operating theatre. Phoenix enters the room to — it appears — perform an emergency, life-saving procedures on a patient who is dying on a surgical table. "What have we got? Who knows the history?" he asks. Everyone in the theatre immediate starts reporting the status of the patient back to him, saying, "wildfires approaching, she was frantic. Collapsed," before explaining in more detail everything that is wrong with the patient medically.
From here, it becomes even more intense until, eventually, the patient dies. The doctor (Phoenix) leaves the room, too emotional to call the time of death. But as they all turn to leave the room, one of the medical staff walks back to the patient to give further CPR until the heart rate picks back up. She removes her hands to reveal the "patient" is in fact the world. First we see an aerial view of a burning Brazil, before the globe spins around to reveal Australia, almost entirely engulfed by bushfires.
To read more about the Mobilize Earth initiative, or to join their cause, head to www.mobilize.earth/.