Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie's plot.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006) Directed by Davis Guggenheim. Written by Senator Al Gore.
The Inconvenient Truth is this; we are killing the planet with global warming. Senator Al Gores Oscar Award Winning Documentary details the history of mans affect on the Carbon Dioxide in the earths atmosphere. It shows the very clear relationship between these patterns and the steadily increasing world average temperature, and gives scientifically derived predictions for where the current trends will take us. The picture is not good.
There is a lot of anti-global warming hype in the media. But the problem is this all produced by non-scientists, like politicians, and oil industry executives. Mark Twain said, What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.
Here is where this movie comes in so handy. Senator Gore has done his research, and done it well. He has access in his role as a United States Senator to the best intelligence on climate change in the world, and the political clout to get it. Here it is, laid out in language so simple an elected official could understand it, with very clear, easy to read charts and graphs to back it up.
At the time this movie was made, the ten hottest years in the history of the world, (or at least going back 650,000 years) have occurred within the last 14 years, 1991 2005. And the CO2 level in the earths atmosphere has never been this high. Never. Not even after Krakatoa erupted.
The effects of Global Warming are very clear. Look at the glaciers. They are vanishing. Kilimanjaro will be bald by the end of the decade. The largest icebergs ever recorded have broken off Antarctica; entire ice shelves larger than states, suddenly crumbled. The heat melts surface ice; the water bores through the ice, leaving it Swiss cheese, and lubricates its slide over stone. Think hydroplaning.
One of the things to remember too is that the ocean currents are dependant on temperature and salinity to operate. England and Europe are dependant on the warm ocean currents to keep them warm. If anything disrupts that balance, the currents can switch off, and Europe is plunged into an Ice Age. Greenland is a huge glacier. If it melts off, that fresh water could shut down the Atlantic Current. Further, sea levels would rise 20 feet. Think of all the coastal communities that would be underwater. Florida, San Francisco, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, the Netherlands; all these places and their millions of people would be displaced. I remember how hard it was when Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans. Texarkana had a hard time handling the refugees we had, never mind what happened to Houston. Now imagine having New York, Atlantic City, Washington, Charleston, Savanna, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle all having to evacuate at the same time. Mind boggling, isnt it?
And the problem does not stop there. More extreme weather patterns are also a hallmark of warmer temperatures. 2005 taught us how that works. And there is more rain, and it falls in storm events. Higher temperatures also cause draughts; higher temperatures can leech 35% more water from the soil, which helps fuel the storms. So, you have areas that get torrential rains, flooding, and erosion, and areas crushed by blistering draught. We are already seeing this in China.
As temperature changes, wildlife is impacted. Birds time their nesting for when the caterpillars emerge, so they will have food for their young. The warmer temperatures cause the caterpillars to emerge early, the birds starve, and the bugs have a population boom. Pine Borer Beetles are devastating our forests, because the winter is not cold enough to kill them. Coral reefs, huge carbon sinks in and of themselves, are bleaching out and dieing as the oceans heat up. Polar bears are drowning due to lack of ice flows, something never seen before. Polar bears could be extinct due to lack of hunting grounds before 2040.
And here is the kick in the teeth to go with all this good news; just when we need alternative energy sources, just when we need to be moving to more fuel efficient cars, big business is throwing up every road block it can. Here are the words of our beloved former President Bush Sr., refering to Senator Gore.
George H.W. Bush: This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme, we'll be up to our neck in owls and outta work for every American. He is way out, far out, man.
California passed several laws that mandated that the car companies make available energy efficient and alternative energy cars. They are being sued. The laws have changed, but there was one very interesting effect. An Electric Vehicle, the EV, was developed by GM. It was leased only. Everyone loved them. As soon as the law changed, and they werent mandated, they were recalled, (Lease only, remember) and shredded. For a documentary on that fiasco, I refer you to an excellent review by rgathright Who Killed the Electric Car?
So why can GM and Exxon Mobil, and all the other big business concerns not see the problem we are in? Upton Sinclair said it best. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." When they claim that environmental standards changes will put America in the poor house, what they mean is that environmental standards changes will loose them money. Senator Gore illustrated it this way:
Looking at a picture of a scientist observing a set of scales that hold the globe on one side and a stack of gold bars on the other
Al Gore: We have here a scale that balances two different things. On one side, we have *gold* bars! Mmmmmm, don't they look good? I'd just like to have some of those gold bars. Mmmmm. On the other side of the scales... um... THE ENTIRE PLANET! Hmmmm...
(the audience laughs)
Al Gore: I think this is a false choice for two reasons: number one, if we don't *have* a planet...
Al Gore: The other reason is that, if we do the *right* thing, then we're gonna create a lot of wealth, and we're gonna create a lot of jobs, because doing the right thing moves us forward."
So, how do you move from Denial with out going to despair? Stop in the middle and do something. There are ten suggestions in the jacket of the DVD.
1) Change a light. Replacing one regular bulb with a compact fluorescent light will save 150 pounds of CO2 per year.
2) Drive Less. Walk, bike carpool, or take public transit more often. Savings, 1 pound per mile.
3) Recycle More. If you recycled just half your household waste, it would save 2400 pounds of CO2 per year.
4) Check Your Tires. Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage 3%.
5) Use Less Hot Water. A low flow shower head saves 350 pounds of CO2 per year. Washing clothes in cold or warm water saves 500 pounds of CO2 per year.
6) Avoid products with lots of packaging. Cut down your garbage 10% and save 1200 pounds of CO2 per year.
7) Adjust your thermostat. 2 degrees colder in winter and warmer in summer saves 2000 pounds of CO2 per year.
8) Plant a tree. A single tree will absorb one ton of CO2 over its life time.
9) Turn off Electronic Devices. Turn off the TV, lights, DVD player, and computer when you arent using them. This will save thousands of pounds of CO2 per year. For greater savings, unplug, or turn off the surge protector, your electronics. Many use electricity while off.
10) Be part of the Solution. Learn more and get active at www.ClimateCrisis.net.
I wish to close with the words of Winston Churchill, concerning the growing Nazi threat in Europe. People did not want to believe him, because that would just be too horrible. His reply:
The Era of Procrastination, of half measures, of Soothing and Baffling Expedients, of Delays is Coming to its Close. In its Place, We are Entering a Period of Consequences. Sir Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936.
Part of Pambo's Earth-Day Write off.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8