Cate Blanchett reveals how Ireland played a leading role in putting her on the path to becoming an environmental activist

Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has credited Ireland with one of the influential moments that launched her on the path to environmental activism.

The two-time Oscar winner was shooting in Dublin Veronica Guerin At that time, the plastic bag tax was introduced in 2002.

Blanchett said she always loathed seeing plastic bags polluting the local river in her native Australia.

“I figured if I ever decided to quit acting, I wanted to open a supermarket where I could at least ban plastic bags, and here Ireland did it.

“People thought, ‘This is a small change, what will it do?’ Of course, 20 years later, the change has been profound and so many other countries have followed.”

One of the stars of last year’s successful climate satire Don’t look upBlanchett continued to say so over time: “It started to look less and less like satire and more and more like a documentary.”

She said her own industry should do more on the issue.

“You wouldn’t make a film in the 1940s without somehow relating to World War II. And it seems strange to me that we don’t refer to that [climate change] in the work we do.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s just about tackling climate change. It’s also about the way the work is done.

“We are a $100 billion industry. It’s a hugely productive industry, but it’s also very influential. And it’s very wasteful.”

In her latest film Tár, for which she also received an Oscar, her character drives a Porsche, but an electric model.

Everything from the food served in the canteen to the material used to build sets is needed to reflect the climate emergency, she said.

In response to her driver requests, she joked that instead of asking for cashmere blankets, “people know to keep the plastic bottles off.”

She said art plays a role in climate change mitigation because it can tell stories that allow people to imagine things differently.

“What we are going through right now is a lack of imagination that things can be different. Of course they can.”

Blanchett is also a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, a role she took on in 2016, partly in defiance of the Australian government’s closed borders policy.

Since then, the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution around the world has increased from 61 million to almost 90 million, and the number of forced resettlers due to climate change is increasing.

She said her activism was also motivated by her four children. Australia has always had extreme weather, but the situation worsened.

“I remember growing up during the Ash Wednesday bushfires in my backyard, hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the fire, and just watching ash fall into the pool. I didn’t want that to be the norm,” Blanchett said.

Earlier this year, Blanchett and environmentalist Danny Kennedy produced a six-part podcast, climate of changeto examine reasons for fear and hope around the topic.

“The thing about anxiety that I feel that I learned from the podcast is that it’s rational to feel anxious and worried about climate change,” she said.

“That is absolutely a rational reaction. You are not crazy and you are not alone.”

Blanchett was speaking in Dublin as a guest of AIB Bank at an event held as part of Sustainable Finance Ireland’s Climate Finance Week. Cate Blanchett reveals how Ireland played a leading role in putting her on the path to becoming an environmental activist

Fry Electronics Team

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