Robert Redford rips Trump's COVID-19 response, says global shutdown shows ‘potential for environmental repair’

According to Redford, the global response to the COVID-19 crisis with government-ordered shelter-in-place measures has “shown us the power of sound science, true leadership and early action”


                            Robert Redford rips Trump's COVID-19 response, says global shutdown shows ‘potential for environmental repair’
(L-R) Actor Robert Redford, Donald Trump (Getty Images)
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Hollywood icon Robert Redford and his son James Redford criticized President Donald J. Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an impassioned op-ed for NBC News on Thursday.

According to them, the president has failed “to act quickly and decisively” in the face of a global health crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 60,000 people across the nation.

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However, despite tens of thousands of fatalities and some 26 million forced into unemployment, the Redfords said there is one positive thing society can take away from this trying time. 

According to them, the global response to the COVID-19 crisis with government-ordered shelter-in-place measures has “shown us the power of sound science, true leadership, and early action.”

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The father-son duo suggested a similar approach to tackle the issue of climate change.

“As COVID-19 began its lethal march across our nation, most Americans embraced scientific consensus and understood that collective grassroots action could protect us from the worst-case scenarios,” the Redfords claimed, adding that the  same mentality can be applied to “blunt the curve of climate change and create a better world for the many generations to come.”

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“As many of the world’s transportation and industrial sectors have reduced operations, there has been a remarkable decline in global levels of carbon dioxide emissions,” they wrote.

They also suggested that while “the cost in life and livelihood negates any celebration,” the results of the pandemic have given us “a very real glimpse of the potential for global environmental repair."

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According to Robert and James, governments should take an active role in protecting people from climate change, just like they have against the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

However, there has been some backlash against government measures that have left small businesses and many with significant financial loss and employment.

“The incremental and sporadic nature of climate change has not thus far motivated the sort of rapid response we have seen with COVID-19,” the pair pointed out, adding that “inertia" towards the climate crisis "is unacceptable.”

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The Redfords urged Americans to brace themselves for “the worst of the climate change curve" the same way they are preparing for the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been fortunate to witness the inspiring power of people doing the right thing,” they wrote. “Millions of Americans have willingly sheltered in place to protect their families and communities.”

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Father and son also insisted that Americans should focus on stronger “narrative strategies” with regards to climate change rhetoric, saying they are creating their own media projects to promulgate the message.

“Big cultural shifts do not begin with treaties, laws, and policies,” they continued. “They start on the ground and in the hearts of people. It is often said that if you capture hearts, minds will follow.”

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“In this way, stories and narrative strategies can be uniquely powerful,” the Redfords added. “We hope to further this goal by making and supporting film and media projects that highlight stories of good citizenship and strong leadership.”