Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) [PG] ****


This documentary should be required viewing. If you can watch it and not understand that climate change is real, perhaps Upton Sinclair was describing you when he said: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

In the words of British statesman Winston Churchill: The period of politics and procrastination, of lobbying and lies, of delay and inaction, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.

We are, all of us, facing the threat of global climate change, and, like a man standing on the edge of a melting glacier, face-to-face with a starving polar bear, there is no getting around the situation. In An Inconvenient TruthAl Gore makes it abundantly clear how we got here, and what global changes are taking place now. What he does not emphasize however, is how we are going to have to adapt to the inevitable climate changes that are coming, the changes that are locked in regardless of what we do today. How many deaths will result from the now-inevitable rise of ocean temperatures and ocean levels? How much arable land will be lost to the now-inevitable droughts, and how many lives will be lost due to the resulting global famine? What will the stable world population be if the current average world temperature rises five or ten degrees?

Even more frightening is the possibility of runaway climate change which could make the Earth unlivable for human beings. This could occur through the massive release of methane hydrates from the floor of the world's oceans, due to ocean warming. While it is unlikely that we will begin working together to reverse the effects of global climate change until we see evidence of it with our own eyes, for the billions of us who live and work in coastal areas around the world, that day is not far off. We will see New Orleans' hurricane Katrina repeated over and over until we get the message.

Sadly, there are millions of Americans who will never get it. As acclaimed science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov once observed: Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Label: documentary  

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