Thursday, September 21, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I went to see Al Gore's film, An Incovenient Truth, yesterday with my partner. It was good, and certainly works as a clarion call for action to stop global warming. I have to say that although I had learned a bit about the science of global warming, and thought I realised the potential for environmental disaster that global warming will bring, Gore's presentation really captured the seriousness of our situation, and rammed it home.

The film is based on Gore's presentation on global warming, which he delivers with a multimedia slide show, the political issues around the response to global warming in America, and the story of how Gore became interested in global warming and what drives his crusade. The story of global warming's impact on the planet is the most compelling, while the insight into what drives this man to take up this crusade helps us to understand a little about his motivations and aspirations. And no, I don't believe this is just a PR exercise to position him for the next Presidential electection race.

I put the film's effectiveness to Gore's good use of images, visual effects, animation and good story telling in his presentation, and the film maker's use of the same tools to tell the story of Gore's crusade. And, of course, a sound grasp of the science of global warming (despite his need to simplify the science for a lay audience, it is still accurate) and a keen eye for understanding how the spin and the petroleum and fossil fuel lobbies operate in the US.

One of the film's weaknesses is that it overwhelming targets an American audience, rather than a global one. It's a pity, as this is a global problem after all and Gore has made a huge effort to take his message (through his presentation) to China an Europe. While Gore presents us with insights into how global warming is already having an impact in Africa, Asia and Europe (not to mention the Pacific), he uses the impacts on the US - especially Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans – to really reach his audience. 'How can this happen in America?' really resonates here.

However, I also appreciate that America is central to this problem – as the worst greenhouse gas offender, and with an administration and public opinion so overwhelmingly stacked against doing anything about global warming. Considering this, I can forgive the American-centric slant of the film. Anything to get the Yanks (and us?) of their butts and take action on this.

The main message I took away, however, is that we all – I – can do something, in fact have to do something. Check out Gore's campaign website:, and go see the film! But, that's just the first step!

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