Google and Game of Thrones star team-up to highlight 'terror' of climate change
Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is swapping the Riverlands of Westeros for the icecaps of Greenland, as part of a new awareness project with Google to visually demonstrate the impacts of climate change.
Coster-Waldau, who is best known for his portrayal of Jaime Lannister in the HBO series, has traversed barren and icy landscapes to bring Google’s Street View to southern Greenland.
The actor is Danish-born but his wife is from Greenland and he is using his role as a UN goodwill ambassador to increase public awareness of climate change as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We’ve been hearing about the terror of climate change for a long time now,” Coster-Waldau said. “Images are very powerful, much more than a graph and statistics. The climate is changing but we can do something about it. We have the technology we have the brilliant minds. We need the will and it’s really the will of the people.”
The actor carried Google’s 360-degree Trekker Street View camera across areas of Greenland to give the public a glimpse of the “beached whales” of ice that are at risk of melting as global temperatures continue to rise.
The visit and filming took place late last year, but footage was finally released on Monday (6 February). By “starting at his own front door” in raising awareness, Coster-Waldau hopes that the video footage will “encourage people to band together” to mitigate climate impacts.
As outlined in a blogpost, the actor hauled the camera to Greenland’s glacial-covered Qoorog Fjord. This is the area where the world’s second largest ice sheet meets the sea. In total, Greenland’s ice cap contains 10% of the world’s supply of fresh water.
Coster-Waldau noted that this ice sheet is melting “at an increased pace”, adding 300bn tonnes of ice to the ocean each year, contributing to rising sea levels. Google has also released a timelapse video of Greenland, highlighting how the landscape and ice coverage has dwindled over the years.
Winter is coming
Game of Thrones displays a world in political disarray, where houses argue amongst themselves while ignoring threats further afield. If connotations are going to be made between the shows political distress and current global upheavals involving Trump and Brexit, then it is worth noting that the show could also be viewed as a metaphor for climate change.
As blonde-haired rulers battle for power, those beyond "the Wall" are subjected to torment from “White Walkers” – zombie-esque creatures that conjure storms of snow and ice when they appear. American multimedia portfolio Vox alluded that the White Walkers are a metaphor for climate change.
“The White Walkers are a threat to all humanity: Their zombie minions are equally happy to rip apart people of all nations and noble houses,” The Vox blog reads. “Yet instead of uniting to combat the shared threat to human existence itself, the noble houses in the show spend basically all their time on their own petty disagreements and struggles for power.
“White Walkers are generally ignored; some nobles deny their existence outright. Swap climate change for White Walkers and "countries" for noble houses, and it starts to sound a lot like the real world.”
Coster-Waldau’s involvement in Google’s SDG project is the latest in a growing number of celebrity involvements and endorsements related to raising awareness of climate change. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio used his Oscar winners speech to warn of the “urgent threat” of climate change.
Mark Ruffalo, star of the Best Picture-winning film Spotlight at last-year’s Oscars, sent a passionate plea to UK Prime Minister David Cameron to stop fracking and instead embrace the global renewable energy revolution.
Both DiCaprio and Ruffalo appear on edie’s list of 12 influential celebrities calling for climate action.
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