Last night, my friend Ben and I went to see “An Inconvenient Truth.” It was a really good movie and I enjoyed it. For those who have not seen ads or reviews of this movie, it’s basically a filmed version of a canned but lively talk on global warming that Al Gore has been giving a lot. Yes, the same Al Gore who has the very unique distinction of being the only man alive who was elected President of the United States by a majority of the citizens but never held the office. But this movie had nothing to do with that. Occasionally it talked a bit about his life and political career, but it was mainly a very interesting yet alarming presentation on increased global warming.
Gore made some very powerful points and connected a lot of dots. He talked about a number of things I have been reading about here and there, unconnected. Things I was starting, slowly, to put together in my own head (such as the connection between hurricanes and global warming) but Gore really pulled it all together in focus. And he seemed much more lively in this than he did when he campaigned for President six years ago. It almost seems as if he cares more about this than he did being President. Well, maybe he just had bad image-makers back then. But Gore’s presentation in the film was well put together even though the film itself wasn’t so artfully arranged, like some of the better documentaries, such as Michael Moore’s films or “Super Size Me.”
Gore used some really excellent visuals and graphics to highlight his points. In the middle of the presentation there was a short “Simpsons”-style cartoon about the sunrays being trapped by carbon gasses and it was pretty funny. The idea was probably stolen from the “South Park”-style cartoon in the middle of “Bowling for Columbine,” but who cares; it’s a good idea and it was funny.
Gore spent a lot of time talking about various “canary in the coal mine” warning signs, such as the recent break-up of the Antarctic peninsula ice-shelf, drying up lakes, receding glaciers, increased heat-waves, and stronger hurricanes and typhoons. By the way, did you know that the ten hottest years on record occurred in the last 14 years? And Gore had some very alarming graphs showing amazing correlations between population increase, carbon emissions, and rising temperatures.
He also showed some images of what Florida, as well as many other areas of the world, would look like if the seas rose 20 feet. The seas could rise 20 feel if half of Greenland’s ice sheets and half of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice sheets melted. Vast areas of coastline would be underwater. 40 million people in the US alone live in these areas. Gore asked us to remember what a nightmare it was to have 100,000 refugees from New Orleans last summer and then imagine what it might be like to have 40 million refugees. And every coastal nation in the world would have similar problems. Interestingly enough, I was talking to my cousin only a few days ago; she had recently seen these very same images published in the Harvard Alumni magazine (she’s a Harvard graduate) and was saying how glad she was that I was getting out of Florida. In the images, the Orlando area is still above water, but it’s closer to the coast, and all of South Florida south of Lake Okeechobee, including Miami, was below water. Also, much of southern Manhattan would be gone.
Ben liked the movie even more than I did; he was strongly attracted to Gore’s message and his popular style of presentation. We both agreed that this is a very important movie and that people should go see it. It’s good that it picked up a national distributor and hopefully it will shock a few people and make them think more seriously about the environment. I urge everyone to go see this movie if you can. If you’ve been unimpressed by the issue of global warming, I think it will shock you and wake you up.
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