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Before the Flood director: What Trump's win means for the environment

Documentary filmmaker Fisher Stevens on the highs and lows of his climate change campaign

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Jerod Harris/Getty Images for National Geographic Channel

This time last week, actor/director/activist Fisher Stevens was feeling optimistic. It was Election Day and he, like many Americans, was convinced that Hillary Clinton and her progressive, environmentally-friendly agenda would prevail. For Stevens, who has made four films that address climate change, Donald Trump’s win was like a punch in the gut. His new movie, Before the Flood, which is narrated by and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, had been a change agent during the election cycle. Distributor National Geographic gave the film away for free ahead of the election and was intimately involved in the Get Out the Vote campaign, encouraging students who attended free screenings on college campuses to vote.

Trump has repeatedly asserted that climate change is a hoax, but Stevens, 52, is holding onto the remote possibility that he and others can somehow get their message to the president-elect via his children. The environmentalist community has already been devastated by Trump’s appointment of Myron Ebell, an outspoken climate-change skeptic, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team. Take a listen to Stevens discussing his strategy for reaching Ivanka and Co. from a recent interview on Inside Movies on EW Radio.

One of Stevens’ biggest concerns is Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which was signed last year by 195 countries and is designed to cut worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Here Stevens explains the myriad ways the new administration can exit the critical effort put in place to prevent sea levels from rising further. It involves Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Supreme Court.

Prior to Before the Flood, Stevens made three films, either as producer or director, that focused on the environment including 2009’s The Cove, which was directed by Louie Psihoyos and won the Oscar for Best Documentary; Mission Blue, the 2014 documentary on Marine biologist Silvia Earle featuring James Cameron; and Racing Extinction, the 2015 film about undercover activists efforts to stave off the extinction of a multitude of animal species.

Here Stevens reflects on his prior films and shares what he’s most afraid of now.

The full interview will re-air on EW Radio on Sirius XM later this week.