Sunday, February 4, 2007

Inconvenient Truth

Pre-Super Bowl movie watching led to more intellectual stimulation and heartfelt concern about real-world issues than I'd expected this Sunday afternoon. The movie was Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which cuts through the clutter and propaganda of global warming. A terrifying look at the facts of what's been and currently is happening to our planet. Now, please note: I'm not a treehugger. A colleague and I used to joke that the 450 inland lakes in our Michigan county should be filled in and paved over with beautiful concrete to make way for more roads. This movie, though, puts the jokes aside and gives real perspective on this huge issue. I've also never been a fan of Al Gore's. But he has a point here with this "climate control slide show" film.

Violent weather patterns with intense hurricanes and tornadoes, climate changes, melting icecaps, polar bears drowning for lack of ice to rest on, more invasive species in lakes and trees - signs seem to be out there. Images come to mind of an early Fall camping trip, when we ventured up to Michigan and lounged by a beautiful lake and enjoyed night-time campfires. What if that wasn't possible? Makes you wonder if we're doing away with this leisure for future generations.

Here's a Winston Churchill quote used in the movie that makes you think: "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequence."

This all fits in with news Friday about a global warming report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which confirms the scientific consensus that the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is having significant and on the whole negative effects by causing global temperatures and sea levels to rise. Seems the dissent is weaking on all this and scientific evidence continues growing. Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit writes about it in his blog.

Makes you think. Ignoring the political undertones of this film, and whether you believe Gore or not, it helps you clearly see that we (humans) are both the villians and victims in this story, that global warming appears to be real, and we can at least try to do something about it.

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