Emma Thompson talks Arctic climate change, Bridget Jones and Trump
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, August 25, 2016 4:09PM EDT
When Emma Thompson arrived in Clyde River, Nunavut to visit the remote Inuit community living there, the children recognized her immediately. Not as Emma Thompson the famous, Academy-award winning actress; but as Nanny McPhee – her character from the popular children’s film of the same name.
“That’s who I am now to them,” she told CTV News Channel on Thursday afternoon. “That’s what they call me. That’s my name in Inuktitut now.”
Thompson, who is also a writer and activist, travelled to Clyde River, a small hamlet about halfway up the Eastern coast of Baffin Island, earlier this month as part of a two-week Greenpeace delegation looking to highlight the need for alternative energies, including solar energy, in the Arctic.
The Inuit population there has been fighting against seismic testing in the ocean. Thompson explained to CTV’s Your Morning that seismic blasting’s harmful effects on marine life directly impacts the Inuit population’s ability to hunt and fish.
“It’s like half a kilo of TNT going off every 10 seconds for six months on end,” she said. “Underwater sound travels much faster and further and because marine mammals are so sound sensitive, it’s the equivalent really, of blinding them.”
Thompson described the conflict between the Inuit and big oil and gas companies conducting the tests, as a “David and Goliath” battle. Clyde River has been fighting the National Energy Board in court after its decision to allow seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. The Clyde River community and Greenpeace are trying to use alternative energy sources, such as solar, to reduce their fossil fuels dependence.
The delegation installed solar panels they brought with them to the hamlet’s community hall during their stay. Thompson corrected the popular misconception that Nunavut does not see as much sunlight as the rest of the world, which implies solar energy would not be as useful there. She says Nunavut experiences just as much sunlight because of their extensive daylight in the summer.
“Actually, as solar develops itself, soon those batteries and the panels will be able to store energy,” she said. “You’ll be able to use it all year round. That’s the great hope.”
Thompson brought her 16-year-old daughter, Gaia Wise, on the trip because Wise is also an Arctic activist ever since she accompanied her mother on a different trip to the Norwegian Arctic two years ago.
“She (Wise) is now a passionate defender of the Arctic and fighter against climate change in general,” Thompson said. “She learned an awful lot from this extraordinary community.”
Greenpeace has always been an important organization for the actress, who joined when she was 16 years old. She says it is connecting climate change with other human rights issues that are important to her.
“Everything is connected,” she told CTV News Channel. “Climate change is intimately connected to human rights, in particular, of an Inuit community whose very livelihoods depend upon preserving the arctic in its original state.”
Thompson also spoke to CTV’s Your Morning about one of her upcoming films, Bridget Jones’s Baby, which is set for release next month. This is the third film in the Bridget Jones franchise, which includes Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
“It was like being with the old family,” she said. “It’s lovely, absolutely lovely. It was fun.”
Besides playing the doctor for the title character Bridget Jones, played by Renée Zellweger, Thompson also helped write the film’s script. She described the writing experience as “sometimes fun”.
The U.S. election, and particularly, Republican nominee Donald Trump, was also brought up during Thompson’s interview with CTV News Channel on Thursday. She said she was at a loss for words about Trump’s candidacy and said all she could do was quote Last Week Tonight host John Oliver.
“The bliss of it at the beginning and now the utter horror of the possibility that such a person (Trump) could become president of anywhere,” she said with a laugh.
Thompson went on to say that she has difficulty expressing her fear of Trump becoming the next president.
“I’ve been watching, obviously, with some degree of trepidation and horror from Great Britain,” she said. “I think that’s a very frightening development, the possibility that people might vote for someone who’s bonkers, I think.”