MSNBC's Morning Joe
December 28, 2021
8:41 a.m. Eastern
WILLIE GEIST: At the end of a year here where once in a lifetime weather events seem to happen every month. A new PBS documentary is exploring the effects of human activity on the environment.
Boy, when you look back at this year, and you go back to February to the winter storm in Texas, and you look at the tornadoes that we just had in Kentucky and across other parts of the Midwest, put in some hurricanes in there, forest fires and wildfires out West, it seems like the perfect time for this documentary. So what did you want to say in this piece for PBS?
RICHARD GERE, NARRATOR FOR PBS's EARTH EMERGENCY: Well, you know, a friend came to me and said he was making this documentary, and I said, "What's the point? I mean, we all -- most of us are concerned about climate." And he said, "Well, look, I don't think people realize that the Earth is heating up much faster than the models would indicate." And I think this is an attempt to explain why, and it's really around the effects of feedback loops that when the Earth, in fact, is heating, the hottest years in the last thousands -- many thousands of years on Earth -- the hottest years are since 2000.
We are in this hyper heating mode right now. But what we're seeing is, as the Earth heats up, it kicks in other systems -- these feedback loops -- that make it heat even faster. And so we're getting to a tipping point much quicker than any of the models would have predicted.
WILLIE GEIST: There's no question about it, Richard. And as you know, you look at a younger generation, you just look at polling and their awareness and their concern about climate change is exponentially higher than older generations. So there is progress being made in awareness, and maybe this new generation takes the baton, but how do you use your voice and your platform to break through? Because so many people have said what you're saying for so long, how do you punch through to all the people who need to hear this.
GERE: I don't know. Look, this young girl -- this extraordinary girl, Greta Thunberg -- I think woke everyone up that there was this teenage girl who was able to speak with such passion and eloquence about responsibility and sanity. I think she was speaking for the 7.8 billion people on this planet who relied on a healthy planet. And our children and our grandchildren and great grandchildren who rely on this planet, the planet's not going to be here unless we change radically what we're doing. We have to stop with the fossil fuels. We have to stop -- it's as simple as that. If we don't -- continue to cut down our old growth trees, this planet will heat up, and people will die in the millions, and most of the species on this planet will be gone. That's a fact.
Now, why we don't pay attention to that -- why we have politicians who don't pay attention to that -- why we don't hold them responsible? Why don't we elect people who take this seriously? Economy doesn't mean much if there's no planet. Economy doesn't mean much when there's no healthy place for us to live on this planet. So kind of so many choices that are being made to maintain the status quo and using fossil fuels and cutting down our forests all over the planet is a dead end.
The biggest thing you can do is to elect people who take it seriously. This has to come from government side. Unfortunately, we had a President for four years who pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords. That was a huge blow to the environmental community The U.S. is always expected to be a leader. When we pulled out, it took the oxygen out of the movement for a while.