From “Sense and Sensibility” to “Love Actually” and “Nanny McPhee”, British actress Emma Thompson is known for her memorable roles in costumes dramas, comedies and fantasy films.
But like fellow Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, the 57-year-old is also an avid environmental campaigner, seeking to raise awareness on issues such as fracking and climate change.
“I think that we’ve all got to shout as loudly as we can,” Thompson told Reuters in an interview. “Ordinary people now need to know more. They need to inform themselves. You can’t just sit back and go ‘look, I recycle’.”
The actress was speaking in Sweden, where she is adding her voice to fellow activists’ criticism of Norway’s plans to open up more oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.
Last year, Oslo opened up new grounds for exploration for the first time in two decades, and this month, announced preliminary plans to nominate a record number of blocks in the Barents Sea, drawing ire from environmentalists.
Thompson said Norway had long been a “green beacon” to her, saying it was one of the first countries to sign the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and to provide a constitutional right to a healthy environment.
“You can’t say you want to safeguard future generations and then drill for more of the stuff that has already put our planet in danger,” she said. “We already have.”
In 2014, Thompson, who said she joined Greenpeace in her youth, travelled to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, roughly midway between the North Pole and northernmost tip of Europe.
“To see the ice that is sadly melting changed me actually on quite a molecular level,” she said. “But also to see the grief of the scientists who have been visiting the place for 25 years and to stand on a glacier and to see…the marks of where it used to be is a terrible thing.”
“What is interesting about it is that like so many plagues that affect the world it affected only the poor which is why we don’t know much about it”, she said, when asked what next for her.
“But on my 60th birthday I want to be putting up a Greenpeace banner.”
(Reporting By Ilze Filks, Writing by Marine Hass)