Friday, March 16, 2007

thoughts on An Inconvenient Truth

We went to a free showing of Al Gore's movie at the library the other day. It was good. Not good in the sense of being high cinematic quality, but good in the sense it's good that the movie was made and that so many ppl. have seen it and become aware of the seriousness of global warming.

Some thoughts: Mr. Gore may be reimagining himself as an environmentalist now, but he's still a politician at heart. His film is alot like a political speech in that, selling his cause=selling himself. Some of the autobiographical stuff didn't really seem integral to the film. The part about his sister dying of lung cancer was very appropriate, I thought, but not so much the story of his son's car accident injuries or the agonizing events of the 2000 presidential election.

And there were some points he didn't explain fully--for example, there were a few graphs that he didn't clearly explain before talking about their implications. And he didn't really address the objection that the changes we need to make in our way of life in order to slow down global warming will be detrimental to the economy. He just sort of said "Well, if we *don't* make these changes, we'll be *totally* screwed--so there's no need to even discuss whether there will be economic repercussions."

I was also surprised at how optimistic he was that we can "beat" this thing. It may also have to do with his political training--you have to give people hope. No one likes a doomsayer. I'm glad he made it clear that global warming does not spell the end of the world, but it probably does mean further natural disasters which will result in the death and suffering of billions of people.

And it does seem intuitive that the luxurient, comfortable, materialistic American lifestyle is not sustainable. It's intuitive in an abstract sense. Not so much in terms of imagining the destruction of America as I know it within my lifetime. It's almost impossible to imagine that, but it certainly could happen. Maybe it's likely.


Miranda said...

Did you watch the Oscars? Parts of it were like a political rally around Gore . . . I mean, the environment.

Bianca said...

NPR has been tracking Gore quite a bit lately, especially after he presented to Congress.

You should check out their stories on him ( cover many angles. I found their coverage of his business acumen really interesting.

I also love how much they have to try not to make fun of him...

BenjyWay said...

Of course we can "beat" this thing! Well, if it's a "thing" to be beaten at all. Climate change has been part of the Earth for far longer than human existence. It will continue to be until the Earth no longer exists. There were two periods when the Earth was entirely covered in ice, and there were times when the polar caps melted completely. Our current "warming" is really just a blip in Earth's radar.

Now, as to whether we can turn things back to normal within our own lifespans, I doubt it, though it could be possible. To really get global warming going has taken us many decades, so of course it will probably take many decades to fix it.

This was all covered in great depth in my Biosphere class in my first semester, by the way, and on subsequent specials on the Discover Channel. I haven't seen Mr. Gore's movie, but I agree that it's good people are being alerted to the dangers and reality of global climate change.

If it makes you feel any better, though, there are countless other natural disasters that happen every several hundred thousand years which haven't happened in many hundreds of thousands of years and which have the potential to eliminate humankind entirely. That would make you feel better because it makes Global Warming not seem so bad.

Perhaps we can discuss it next time we speak, which we should make soon!