This afternoon, Spooky and I took a break and braved the heat (and it was the sort of heat one must brave) to see An Inconvenient Truth at Tara. I almost didn't see it. I mean, it's not like I learned anything new. Not one thing I can think of off the top of my head. Because I read too much of the actual science, the papers in journals and the books that climatologists and paleoclimatologists and other scientists have been writing for decades. I knew, for example, that there's essentially no "controversy" within the scientific community regarding the fact of global warming and humanity's role therein, and that it's politics that use the popular press to create the convenient, confusing illusion of controversy.
It's not so very different than the non-existent "debate" over the fact of biological evolution. Or, as Gore points out in the film, the pseudoscience and press spin employed by the tobacco industry to create doubt in the minds of a public which, they understand, is largely scientifically illiterate. I know these things, though most days I honestly wish that I didn't. I know about the melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, about the coming summers when the north pole will be entirely ice free, about the polar bears that are drowning because they can't swim the increasing distances between Arctic ice, and I know about the melting permafrost. I know a thousand damning facts. And I understand most of the science that has revealed those facts. So, what I'm trying to say, I guess, is that I'm not the sort of person this film was made for.
But. That puts me in the minority.
I think almost everyone needs to see this film. In theatres or on DVD. As soon as possible, because there's really not a whole lot of time left.
We've had plenty of wake-up calls. Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast. The deadly European heat waves. The floods in India. The droughts in China. The loss of Lake Chad and the Aral Sea. The retreating, vanishing glaciers and the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf. It's not a question of waiting for evidence. We have the evidence. It's a question, I think, I sincerely fucking believe, of whether or not it's now too late to change the future.
Indeed, I would say that if there's any fault with An Inconvenient Truth, it lies in Gore's optimism. I have great admiration for this man, and I think he genuinely believes that if he just explains the truth to enough people, and does so with patience and sobriety and a little humour, the world will wake up and rally before it's too late, and then things will get better. And I, personally, think he's wrong in that regard.
But still, I know that I'm a pessimist. And I do hope I'm wrong. I'd very much like to look like a complete fool over this.
Just see the film, okay? Please? Here's the website: An Inconvenient Truth. It's easy to find a theatre where it's playing. Or you can wait for the DVD. And if you should doubt what the film has to say, that's fine. More power to you. That just means you're thinking. Read the studies for yourself. Gore makes no claims about recent climactic events or prevailing scientific opinion regarding global warming and its consequences that cannot be verified in a good university library with access to the internet.
Just see the film.
Shortly after we got home, we learned that An Inconvenient Truth is receiving a special award from the Humanitas Prize, the first documentary to be recognized by the Humanitas Prize since 1995.