Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Congratulations on the Oscar, Al!

Davis Guggenheim, Al Gore and Melissa Etheridge. Al Gore. Another of my heroes.

I went to see An Inconvenient Truth soon after it came out and I thought it was amazing. Absolutely brilliantly done, and completely compelling. I can't believe that anyone could see it and not understand the enormity of the threat to the planet posed by climate change.

Poster for An Inconvenient Truth. I've been aware of (and talked endlessly about) climate change since 1980 when I took a paper on Conservation and the Environment at varsity, as part of my Biological Sciences BSc. It was the most depressing course - we covered at least 20 ways in which man is destroying the environment - from CFCs depleting the ozone layer, to widespread pollution of earth, water and air, from the destruction of the rainforests to the rapidly increasing number of species that have become extinct. And Global Warming. The Greenhouse Effect. Climate Change.

When I took that paper 27 years ago, Global Warming was generally accepted as proven scientific fact. I'm pretty sure it still was when I worked for Greenpeace in the early 90s. But then I guess Exxon, Shell and the rest decided that they'd better do something, and quick, before the wider community actually started doing something about it - like buying less gas for their cars, for example. And so the lies and the twisting of the truth - the denial of the truth - began, aided and abetted over the past 6 years by ex-oil men Bush and Cheney.

And yet... and yet... what Al does so well in An Inconvenient Truth is to let the facts speak. Give people the facts, and let them decide for themselves.

For instance - how could you look at this:

and then look at this:

...and not understand that something is terribly wrong?

There's more...

How about this - Glacier National Park, Boulder Glacier - 1932 and 1985:

Glacier National Park 1932 and 1985.
Or this - Glacier AX010, Nepal - 1978:

Glacier AX010, Nepal - 1978
...compared with this - Glacier AX010, Nepal - 2004:

Glacier AX010, Nepal - 2004
Here's another - Peruvian glacier - 1980:

Peruvian glacier - 1980.
...and the same glacier in 2002:

Peruvian glacier - 2002.
And maybe occasionally Al can put a bit more drama into his presentation (as if these images weren't dramatic enough!) - let's have him following along the line on the graph that shows CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) concentrations as measured in the atmosphere and in ice cores:

And when he gets to the end of it - the bit following the Industrial Revolution where this fairly static and regular line suddenly begins to skyrocket upwards - let's put him on a cherry-picker that lifts him high into the air so he can reach the top of the darned thing!

It's a brilliant and chilling movie, one that everyone should see without delay - and one which I believe has already started to redirect the opinion of the masses in the direction of The Truth - Inconvenient as it may be to the oil companies. Go see it (or get the DVD) if you haven't already.

An Inconvenient Truth totally deserves its Oscar - congratulations to Al Gore and to director Davis Guggenheim and producers Lawrence Bender and Laurie David.

And finally... here are 10 things you can do today if you want to help stop global warming. You can change a light, drive less, recycle more, check your tyres, use less hot water, avoid products with a lot of packaging, adjust your thermostat, plant a tree, and turn off electric devices when you're not using them. As well as saving the environment, they'll also save you heaps on your utility bill. Click on the pic to make it bigger:

10 things you can do to help stop global warming.
I bought petrol for my car the other day. I keep a log book and record the date, how much I bought, the mileage on my car etc each time I buy some. I realised that the last time I filled up the gas tank was exactly a year ago. Not bad, eh? If I didn't need the car to take the cats to the vet, take me to the supermarket and to visit my friends, and to bring back plants from the garden centre once in a while - I'd get rid of it all together.

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B.V.K. said...

Sadly, I have not yest seen the movie but all the reviews I have read about it so far, have been completely praising it...
Again sadly, the plight of the environment is something indigestible. Just looking at the climatic changes this year.. US celebrated Christmas in "florida-like" weather and now it's snowing cats n dogs. London had snow! Germany didn't have snow! It was completely unbelievable weather in China, India and infact most of Asia.
The entire world is collapsing and something needs to be done about it, quick! I think everyone needs watch movies like this and be more concerned... after all it's our planet and we are deeply imbibed in it!
Let's just hope.... people will 'think'.