Jared Leto Tours The Arctic In A New Virtual Reality Climate Change Campaign

The Oscar-winner narrates a new VR PSA urging people to lobby leaders ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Summit in Paris.

Jared Leto Tours The Arctic In A New Virtual Reality Climate Change Campaign
[Photo: Courtesy of the Sierra Club]

Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto has teamed with the Sierra Club, Environmental Media Association, and VR studio RYOT for the first virtual reality climate change public service announcement.

(Mobile users should be able to view this on the YouTube app.)

Leto—named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2012— narrates the VR experience that takes viewers into the Arctic to witness the communities, melting glaciers, and landscapes affected by climate change. It’s viewable on the RYOT-VR mobile app, Facebook Spherical and YouTube 360.

“Climate change affects all life on this planet,” says Leto in a statement. “It is literally altering the face of the earth and displacing communities. I hope world leaders recognize that people around the globe want and need them to step up and work together starting at the UN Climate Summit and beyond, to fight the climate crisis. Humanity depends on it.”

Combined with a #ActinParis social media campaign, the video highlights the devastating effects of climate change and urges world leaders to combating it. It advances the international climate negotiations to take place in December at the UN Climate Summit in Paris. There, representatives from 195 nations will attempt the world’s first unifying agreement to stop climate disruption.

“The climate negotiations present a unique opportunity to take on the climate crisis and take action for a strong and just clean energy economy,” says Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in a statement. “Supporters like Jared Leto help show this is not just a political issue, it’s a cultural and humanitarian issue. We need people to call on their leaders to Act In Paris.”

RYOT COO Molly Swenson, an executive producer of the film, hopes VR immersion can activate more participants, adding via statement: “When you’re standing in the middle of a glacial ice cave, watching and hearing it melt rapidly from the inside out, you not only understand that climate change is real, but you feel compelled to do everything you can to halt and reverse it.”

About the author

Susan Karlin is an award-winning journalist in Los Angeles, covering the nexus of science, technology, and arts, with a fondness for sci-fi and comics. She's a regular contributor to Fast Company, NPR, and IEEE Spectrum, and has written for Newsweek, Forbes, Wired, Scientific American, Discover, NY and London Times, and BBC Radio.