Limelight: Leonardo Di Caprio’s Before The Flood

Film and Entertainment

By Star Noor

Photos courtesy of Before the Flood website, NASA, National Geographic, and the NRDC.


While global warming is as the designation pronounces, a global problem, we Americans haven’t been fully informed as to the magnitude and even worst, with all the information out there and those tirelessly working to get the horrifying and very real data into the heads and hearts of our mostly uninformed citizenry, we refuse to believe it’s true.  We Americans are one of the leading nations in carbon footprint and fossil fuel consumption (consumption altogether), however, we are not the top country for mass conversion from fossil fuels to clean energy nor one of the top contenders for unilateral government compliance in large and drastic efforts which must be made to correct and halt the death of our planet; the death of us.


As the recently released documentary, “Before the Flood”, by Leonardo Di Caprio points out this and many other facts which we are shielded from and misinformed about by a mass network of Government, privately owned corporations; and Mainstream, Social, and Independent media, many of whom are re-reporting misguided information and mostly rebel rousing the masses in largely unproductive diversions meant to buy time for the profiteers. A chain which is important for us to start paying real attention to.  A chain we must break.

<> on September 22, 2016 in Aston, Pennsylvania.

With the present upsetting election of President Elect Donald Trump,  who is prone to such grossly misinformed and blind-sighted quotes as, “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” (Tweeted on October 12, 2016); we are facing the brink of catastrophe in policy oversight and drastic reductions in governmental funding for programs that we are now actively a part of in the efforts to reduce global warming.  Even amidst the rallying cry of 97% of top scientists in the world studying the problem, as Leo narrates in the film, the President of the Free World resonate the ideals of the most under-informed of our society  instead of taking the time to truly surround himself with the informed and the advised (under-information to the public again, is largely by the cause and effect factor from the actions of these very same echelon of people who stand to profit for the time being).

We are no longer able to assign ourselves the luxury of time.  We are no longer able to be in the lull of ignorance and this film points this out in a most well done cumulative looks into a very broad and complex net of environmental pollution, bureaucracy, denial and profiteering at all costs, human consumption, and ultimately – global warming.


The film begins with Leo recounting his first days on Earth, starring at the panels of a mural painting by artist Hieronymus Bosch titled, The Garden of Earthly Delights and how this work of art was forever engraved into his memory and the way it has fueled his passion for natural conservation since the days of first hearing about the looming global warming crisis at the time, through the insight of then Vice President Al Gore and how those decisive moments helped shape the rest of his life in regards to activism.  In this very personal search, Leo travels the world and ultimately to the White House and the U.N., to research and present a more focused look into global warming and where we are now, in “Before The Flood “.


Before the screening in London began, DiCaprio took to the stage to introduce the film. He said:

“Before The Flood is the product of an incredible three-year journey that took place with my co-creator and director Fisher Stevens. We went to every corner of the globe to document the devastating impacts of climate change and questioned humanity’s ability to reverse what maybe the most catastrophic problem mankind has ever faced. There was a lot to take on. All that we witnessed on this journey shows us that our world’s climate is incredibly interconnected and that it is at urgent breaking point…I’ve been incredibly moved by so many climate change documentaries in the past, but I never felt that I saw one that articulated the science clearly to the public. I think people grasp it, but it seems something distant, far off, intangible and almost otherworldly. An individual doesn’t feel like they can make an impact. The journey for me was to try and make a modern-day film about climate change. I’ve been studying this issue for the past 15 years, I’ve been watching it very closely. What’s incredibly terrifying is that things are happening way ahead of the scientific projections, 15 or 20 years ago…We wanted to create a film that gave people a sense of urgency, that made them understand what particular things are going to solve this problem. We bring up the issue of a carbon tax, for example, which I haven’t seen in a lot of documentaries. Basically, sway a capitalist economy to try to invest in renewables, to bring less money and subsidies out of oil companies. These are the things that are really going to make a massive difference. It’s gone beyond, as we talk about in the film, simple, individual actions. We need to use our vote…We cannot afford to have political leaders out there that do not believe in modern science, or the scientific method, or empirical truths…We cannot afford to waste time having people in power that choose to believe in the 2% of the scientific community that is basically bought off by lobbyists and oil companies. They are living in the stone ages. They are living in the dark ages. We need to live in the future.”
Global warming might not be the most glamorous or socially acceptable issue (depending on what type of society you choose to surround yourself with), however, it is the most pressing in that without the space in which for all of us to survive and prosper in harmony with each other and with the Earth, we have no need of most any other issues for which we might stand.  Without Earth there is no us.  We must understand that very simple yet complex notion, and begin to individually rise to a collective effort to save our home and all of the bounty we have been granted upon it.  Bounty that we are now raping.

For years many, it’s been said one of our top and most effective efforts globally will be personal responsibility and effort to reduce our own carbon footprints in any way that we can.   As Leo points out in the film and I personally concede, for example, if we reduce our waste of red meat which produces different sources of waste which largely impact the environment, we can reduce our carbon footprint drastically.  There is such vast amounts of change necessary that not only does personal effort count enormously, but it is paramount to us winning the battle of saving the tiny little space in which we have been granted life.


I believe that Dr. Sunita Narian said it best in her chat with Leo in one of the most poignant scenes in the film, “I’m sorry to say this, I know you’re an American, and please don’t take this amiss but your consumption is gonna really put a hole in the planet; and I think that’s the conversation we need to have.  I’ll show you charts from this perspective. [Shows page from a book.] Electricity consumed by one American at home is equivalent to 1.5 citizens of France, 2.2 citizens of Japan and 10 citizens of China, 34 of India and 61 of Nigeria. Why? Because you’re building bigger, you’re building more and using much more than before. The fact is we need to put the issue of lifestyle and consumption at the center of climate negotiations.”


To that I say, any action, is better than no action at all.

Figures from the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide and the EPA’s Guide to Passenger Vehicle Emissions.


Food CO2 Kilos Equivalent Car Miles Equivalent


































































Limelight: The Keeper, The Legend of Omar Khayyam

Film and Entertainment, Uncategorized

By Star Noor


While this film is in no way new, it is important for so many reasons.

As a Persian-American woman, I find myself dismayed by the lack of real information in our media and entertainment sectors when it comes to the Persian culture.  We hear so much about the façade of politics in Iran, but not much is known by the Western world about the culture that has influenced the world for thousands of years.  An ancient land with many stories to tell, “The Keeper, The Legend of Omar Khayyam,” is a masterpiece which embraces the beauty and the complexities of a time gone by through the art of storytelling, making use of a life’s journey of a world renowned figure.

The story goes like this: Kamran is a 12 year old boy in the present day who discovers that his ancestor is the 11th Century Mathematician, Astronomer, Poet of Persia, Omar Khayyam. The story has been passed down in his family from one generation to another, and now it is his responsibility to keep the story alive for future generations. The film takes us from the modern day to the epic past where the relationship between Omar Khayyam, Hassan Sabbah (the original creator of the sect of Assassins) and their mutual love for a beautiful woman separate them from their eternal bond of friendship. Filmed almost entirely on location in Samarkand and Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

A masterpiece of its time, it is a beautifully told tale of love, revenge, survival, passion, forgiveness, and poetry.  Open the door to the mysterious and romantic world of Persia, now, and then.


The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam – Poem by Omar Khayyam

Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

Dreaming when Dawn’s Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
‘Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life’s Liquor in its Cup be dry.’

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted – ‘Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.’

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.



Get the film on Netflix:

Released by Hannover House, copyright 2005



He’s a Soul Man: Jon Bon Jovi

Celebrity, Film and Entertainment

By: Star Noor, Features and Culinary Editor, Coco Eco Magazine



He’s a Soul Man. A man who truly believes in the power of giving hope, and hope he gives to thousands of people all around the country, and the globe.

Many of us know the front-man Jon Bon Jovi from the 80’s rock and roll “hairband” Bon Jovi, or as an Oscar nominated actor in films such as Armageddon, Stand Up Guys, or Pain and Gain. His rock anthems have crossed decades and are virtually known the world over. He is by far one of the most celebrated and well-rounded legends of rock, but what’s interesting about today’s man we love is what’s behind the scenes of all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll persona of his celebrity. What’s best about Jon is his can-do attitude and his giving nature.

Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr., it’s no secret Jon is a Jersey Boy. So it’s no surprise that much of what he has undertaken in his philanthropic endeavors focuses on the Northeast region of this country.

With his giving hands are in many baskets, Jon and his wife Dorothea Bongiovi created and maintain the JBJ Soul Foundation, originally known as the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football League (AFL), which launched in 2004 and was founded by Bon Jovi and Craig A. Spencer but underwent a name change in August of 2009 making it the current day organization. This is a foundation which focuses on “bringing about positive change and helping the lives of those in need ONE SOUL AT A TIME.”

According to the foundation’s website, the object of their dedication is to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness by combating “the issues which force families and individuals into economic despair.”

It is no wonder then, that this year Bon Jovi is set to be honored by the Clinton Foundation as the awardee of the Clinton Global Citizen Award on September 19th, 2016, marking a great year to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of JBJSF itself as well. Bon Jovi said, “There are so many wonderful causes and so many passionate people that are addressing them. We have been inspired by so many of our in-need neighbors who have come seeking help;” with Dorothea adding, “This is happening across our nation,” she said. “When there’s 15 percent of children going to be hungry at night in a nation like ours, that’s not an issue it takes a scientist to solve,” Bon Jovi concluded.

Currently, he and Dorothea are hard at work with several initiatives which aid and educate the public in the relief and prevention of poverty. Through the creation of JBJ Soul Kitchen and now the extended partnerships with the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, The Peoples Pantry and the David Tepper Charitable Foundation to provide $5 million in services to needy families in the B.E.A.T. (Bringing Everyone All Together) Center’s first year of operation. This partnership with local charities and fellow wealthy philanthropists to create B.E.A.T. has brought to the community a one stop hub for nutritional assistance, healthcare, and culinary related job training (opened in May of 2016 in Tom’s River, New Jersey). JBJ and team have successfully helped feed thousands of folks otherwise unable to provide nutritionally sound meals for themselves; in a shore town ravaged by super-storm Sandy back in Oct. of 2012; a township still struggling to rebuild. However, the center was created to offset a need which according to Bon Jovi “predated” the storm’ wrath of destruction. In this place, an unfortunate 1 in 5 residences live in poverty, and the need for assistance is widespread and crippling.


JBJ Soul Kitchen is perhaps one of the most unique and inviting restaurants in the world. Their motto, ALL ARE WELCOME TO OUR TABLE, is truly withstanding. With 54, 653 meals served, and a menu lacking prices, the organization hopes to bring to all people good food, made well, and served with “dignity”. No other work can be better since we all know that without dignity, all else is likely lost. In this farm-to-table eatery instead of set cash commodity, patrons are asked to either make a minimum donation to cover the cost of their own meals or larger donations to help offset the cost of meals for those who can only enjoy sustainable nutrition through volunteering. Only one hour of volunteer time will cover each meal consumed per day, and volunteering can lead to qualifying for job training which is integral to combating poverty and plight. As of date only 40% of meals served are earned volunteer meals and 60% are paid with donations, showing the steadfast support the program is receiving from the communities in which it is organized. Dedicated to “eliminating hunger, building relationships, and celebrating community,” JBJ Soul Kitchen has two locations in Red Bank and Tom’s River New Jersey, serving hope with every three course American regional cuisine plated to the public.


Additionally, Bon Jovi is working to end homelessness through JBJ Soul Homes which has created subsidized low-income housing as far away as South Africa. Currently, in conjunction with Project H.O.M.E. and People for People Inc., JBJSH has donated $20 million to build a 55-unit permanent low-income housing for adults in Philadelphia, including units dedicated to young adults, all of which are fully furnished. This repurposed and modernized building not only helps provide housing for those in need, but also helps to revive a community and sustain a local charity with its 12,477 square feet of retail space leased to help support People for People Inc..

Alongside being honored at the GCA, Bon Jovi will be also be performing, as well as Andrea Bocelli. “This House is Not for Sale”, Bon Jovi’s new album will be released October 21st of 2016.


Do your part, get involved.  Hope is delicious.