Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Robert Redford Speaks on Climate Change and #OscarsSoWhite From Sundance

Climate
Robert Redford Speaks on Climate Change and #OscarsSoWhite From Sundance

Actor and director Robert Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival which has helped independent voices develop their craft—in film, theater and music—and reach new audiences. Redford joins Democracy Now! in Park City, Utah to discuss the calls for boycotting the Oscars over its exclusion of people of color and his activism around climate change.

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

Amy Goodman: We just came from Paris, from the UN climate summit. We covered it for two weeks. George Monbiot, the environmentalist from England, said about the agreement, it is a miracle that an agreement happened, but a catastrophe for what really needs to be done. He said, for what could have happened, it’s a miracle; for what should have happened, it’s a catastrophe.

Robert Redford: He’s right.

Amy Goodman: What are your thoughts?

Robert Redford: I agree with him 100 percent. I’ve obviously been involved, as climate change—being an environmentalist, which I am. And I’ve been more radicalized over time as I’ve seen the consequence of how the environment has been treated. So climate change is a big part of that. So, I got pretty involved with the subject, when I was asked to speak at the UN last—I think it was April.

So, basically, going to Paris was a follow-up, because I was asked by NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council] to go to Paris and to kind of follow that up, about focusing on the mayors. And so, for me, the issue for the future was: get to the people that are closest to the ground, meaning the people that are closest to the—the leaders that are closest to the people. And so, I felt mayors, that was the place to go.

The second part was the indigenous cultures. I felt that there’s such an ignorance and an ignoring of indigenous cultures, which are so fundamental to our history. I thought, I’d like to focus on that. Are they being treated fairly? Are they being included in the debate? Are they being included in the conversation? And I didn’t feel they were. So, going to Paris was to try to put focus on the mayors and the value of indigenous cultures, like the people in the Marshall Islands, how they’re being affected. So that was my focus.

Amy Goodman: And what do you think of the whole divestment movement across college campuses, the movement to divest, foundations to divest, corporations to divest from investment in oil, in coal, in fossil fuels overall? Do you endorse this?

Robert Redford: Totally. I think that’s a great—it’s a start. And I think there’s much more that needs to be done, but that’s a great start.

Amy Goodman: Let me ask you about the Oscars and diversity. It’s the big discussion now, extremely significant. I just came from interviewing Dawn Porter who has a film here called Trapped about abortion providers in the South, also spoke to Stanley Nelson, who often features his films here, great civil rights documentarian.

Robert Redford: Right.

Amy Goodman: And both of them endorse a boycott of the Oscars, because, I mean, we see it twice in a row: No actors of color are nominated for an Oscar and yet so many actors of color are acting in the industry.

Robert Redford: Yeah.

Amy Goodman: What do you say about this? Do you endorse a boycott?

Robert Redford: No, I don’t endorse a boycott, because I don’t get involved in that discussion. I probably would, if I hadn’t started Sundance, because starting Sundance was my way of dealing with the issue, where the mainstream has a lot of control and whether it’s too many old white people or not. Because I was a member of the Academy, I’m not going to turn my back on it. I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of films I’m proud of that are part of the Academy. So I decided I’m not going to get into that argument. That’s for others.

But what—all I can say is, look, in terms of diversity, which I really believe in, that’s why we started something called independent film festival. It’s about independence. And because diversity comes out of independence, I thought all we have to do is just show diversity—all colors, women, you know, promoting undervoiced people. Like in the early '90s, we had people like Townsend and they came through and we promoted, we pushed those films, to say, look, black films, ethnic films, are important, so we're going to put them out there, we’re going to make them part of our showcasing. Then it was—the next question was women. I said, well, it’s being dominated by men. And women are important and they’re beginning to emerge. You’re getting Lisa Cholodenko. You’re getting these women filmmakers that are stepping up—Nicole Holofcener. I thought, let’s put focus on them and say they’re important.

So that’s what Sundance’s history has been. We take areas that don’t get enough attention and we bring them in, and we give them a lot of attention here. But that’s what we do—in other words, in contrast to maybe what the Academy is doing. It’s not against the Academy. I’m not going to boycott. I’m just not going to get involved in it. We just do what we do.

Amy Goodman: Spike Lee says he’s not endorsing a boycott, but he’s just not going to go, because he doesn’t want to be a part of it.

Robert Redford: Well, it’s his choice and that’s fine. I mean, I probably won’t go, because I haven’t been invited. But I just focus on this, you know, but without denigrating that. To me, a lot of people—in the beginning, I received a lot of criticism, but it was—there’s a tendency to label, you know and subjugate things. And in the beginning, I was characterized as somebody that was against the mainstream, that’s starting something here in the mountains like an insurgent ready to come down and attack. I said, "No, no, it’s not that at all." What it is, is taking another category that doesn’t get much voice, doesn’t get any attention and has a whole lot of people that could come into it and have a chance and build that up. And what that does, it extends the category of film. It’s not against the Academy. It’s just that it broadens the category. And I don’t think that’s ever come through to people.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Neil deGrasse Tyson Schools Rapper B.o.B. Who Believes the Earth Is Flat

Matt Damon Slams Michigan Governor Over Flint Water Crisis: ‘At the Very Least He Should Resign!’

Canada’s Trudeau to DiCaprio: Tone Down ‘Inflammatory Rhetoric’ on Climate Change

World’s Top Carbon Reserves That Must Be Kept in the Ground to Prevent Climate Chaos

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less
A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch