A Convenient Truth

Mountains of ice cascading into the sea. Polar bears swimming for miles in the vain hope of discovering a patch of ice to call home.  The Big Apple under 20 feet of water.  The Netherlands ceasing to exist.  If these horrifying visions are realistic projections for the world should global warming continue at its current rate, then to label these as “inconvenient” is clearly understating the problem.  Devastating and catastrophic would be closer to the mark in the minds of most people around the world.

Unfortunately, the adjective “inconvenient” seems to have been aptly chosen by Al Gore to describe the apparent views of big business and many politicians towards global warming.  Faced with making changes to their business practice and thereby, initially, earning less profit, many key players in the business world seem willing to continue with the status quo.  This is an ivory tower mentality.  Naively, some appear to feel that they will be relatively untouched by the effects of global warming or they deny its very existence.  To some extent, they will be unscathed by the immediate effects.  Initially.

In taking this myopic view, they are guaranteeing their profits and lifestyles in the short term, while jeopardizing the living conditions of everyone (their own offspring included) over the long term.  Long, in this case, could actually be fewer than fifty years, if the views of many of the world’s leading environmental scientists are correct.  The opinions of these scientists are “inconvenient” because if indeed they are right, it is morally wrong for businesses that are currently profiting from practices or products that directly or indirectly contribute to global warming to proceed unchecked and unchanged.

Some in our society dispute the fact that mankind has contributed to the global warming phenomenon, claiming instead that global warming is part of a natural cycle in the history of the planet.  There is much data that suggests the current level of global warming is far higher than it should be if it were ‘following’ the pattern of previous cycles.

Even if the data supporting the view that our practices are increasing global warming were to be disproven, surely if we can help reduce the effects of global warming through the modification of our own lifestyles (weaning ourselves off our dependence on fossil fuels, for example), then we should be striving to accomplish as much as we can in the shortest possible time to safeguard our world for the future generations. 
This is a moral obligation not a matter of convenience.

That being said, there is an element of convenience about Al Gore’s movie.  It is a slick well-made documentary that does not pull any punches and drives home a disturbing message about the environmental disasters occurring today as well as those yet to come.  The alarming information that leaves one feeling depressed (but hopefully motivated) about the future forms only part of the film.

While Gore’s motives regarding the environment are undoubtedly genuine, the direction of the movie leaves one feeling that there are two messages here.  The first one is a given: global warming is happening, humans are to blame… what are we going to do about it?  The second seems fairly transparent, too:  Al Gore is the man who should have been President (in his mind), he is the man whose concern for the environment means he cares for our future generations, and he appears to be knowledgeable, well-spoken, intelligent and have a great sense of humour (although the self-deprecating comments seem a little over-practised).

This second message, though explicit enough, seems to have been missed by many admirers of the film.  Missed, in the sense that most people do not come away from the movie thinking that they have just seen a commercial for Al Gore, the politician and potential Presidential candidate for 2008.  These people do, nevertheless, have the impression that An Inconvenient Truth is a great documentary that everyone must see in order to save the planet.  After praising the work for its vital environmental theme, many of these fans go on to add that Al Gore would make a great President.  “He’s just the sort of guy we need in the White House.  Someone who’ll put environmental concerns at the top of the priority list,” are typical follow-up statements after one has lauded the green message of the film.

Congratulations, Mr Gore.  The documentary does kill two birds with one stone (proverbially, of course – I do not want to start a false rumour that two birds actually lost their lives owing to the filming of this documentary).  Your global warming message is communicated to millions and becomes a topic of worldwide debate.  Secondly, you have produced an excellent vehicle that promotes your Presidential qualities and inspires others who might not have been interested previously to raise a shout for you to enter the race for 2008.  Very convenient.

If Al Gore wins an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, do not be surprised to see him announce his candidacy during his “thank-you” speech.  The Hollywood audience will give him a standing ovation and millions will be watching around the world.  He would instantly leapfrog any other Democratic candidate in terms of popularity. 

Now, that would be convenient.

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3 Responses to “A Convenient Truth”

  1. rantventrant Says:

    interesting. I like the bit about the two birds 😀

  2. icanplainlysee Says:

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading this post. Mostly because it’s written in an easy style and flows informationally. I’m no trained writer, but I work at it and appreciate the work of others when it’s done well.

    I found what you had to say somewhat less than agreeable to me. I appreciate your effort to write a sensible, even handed resume of this situation with Al and his re-bid for power. I wasn’t particularly impressed with your willing agreement that anthropogenic, catastrophic global climate change is happening and doing nothing would doom our children and grandchildren.

    Also, you neglected to mention the many Hollywood tactics and strategies employed in this docudrama such as incomplete, misleading charts and graphs, fabricated “facts” about current conditons, insistence on the matter being “scientifically proven” and the intense fight to silence critics or dissent from any quarter.

    It’s true that this issue has become the latest in a series of eco-disaster scenarios that, without immediate governmental intervention, would destroy mankind. The coming global ice age was the last claim, and having failed the test of time, was switched to global warming.

    I agree with your asessment that Al generated this comic book version of calamity, blames it’s cause on his fellow man, and will certainly offer himself to solve this contrived dilemma as only a selfless, servant of humanity should. What a guy.

    I’m certain your aware of the political leanings of the authors of the IPCC report ( the actual information will not be released for 2 months or so), socialists, and the intended consequences of successfully convincing the voting public that electing an environmental strongman is the only way to preserve Mother Earth and it’s attendant human parasites.

    Further study of the behind the scenes proponents of this hoax will serve you well in your understanding and whatever writing you may do about this subject in the future.

    People want a king and savior. Al, and many others, want way too badly to provide them their wish, even if the need for one is created by a fairy tale.

    Please consider visiting my blog at your leisure.

    Thanks,

    Hank

  3. Trinifar Says:

    It seems like you are saying, “Gosh, Al Gore produced a good documentary on one of the most important topics our day, thus he’s a bad potential candidate.”

    Maybe there will be a day when politics doesn’t have to be slash-and-burn.

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