an inconvenient truth

22 02 2007


modern society considers many acts of metaphorical bell-ringing to be taboo, the proponent tarred with the brush of the boy who cried wolf too many times – particularly if the prescribed actions threaten to detract from someone’s profit margin. it’s as though the merest possibility of overstatement or marginal error were a sin a hundred times worse than that being warned.

i’ll postpone pondering the roots of such a passive status-quo-maintaining culture, but suffice to say, when it comes to this topic, i have no intention of censoring myself any further.

there are 3 film/tv documentaries that have genuinely literally changed my life, each personally epiphanal, for which i hold the opinion (regardless how unlikely) that every single person on the planet should see. the first was Carl Sagan’s Cosmos 8/13-part tv series (1980). when i saw it in ’88, it gifted me a sense of perspective about the natural world and my (our) place within it that formed a lasting foundation for my worldview.

it was a long time between drinks to the second, The Corporation (2004). unfortunately it was instrumental in triggering 2+ years of dysthymic depression, but ultimately painted for me a very clear picture of what’s wrong with our modern world, and what needs to be done to achieve a capitalist society that’s also genuinely fair, sustainable & democratic, rather than one run mostly by stupid greedy white men.

the third, An Inconvenient Truth (2006) helped bring me back to life, & contextualise what i think is the most pressing challenge our civilisation has ever faced.

In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore pulls together a wide range of examples of climate change, history, political distortion, & human nature that doesn’t just explain what global warming is in simple & eloquent terms, but also why global warming concerns have been ignored, discounted or marginalised for so long, as well as the need for prompt & substantial action.

if you think there is anything remotely resembling a raging equally-sided dispute amongst scientists that global warming is real & caused by our fossil-fuelled emissions, or might instead be some climatic natural phenomenon whose cause we’re still unaware; if you think global warming probably won’t affect you personally all that much; if you think an extra 2 billion Chinese & Indians rapidly adopting the same consumerist lifestyle as ours using the same greenhouse gas-producing power sources & transport won’t make much difference; if you think you can’t make a positive difference, directly & indirectly; then this DVD is for you. it’s for everyone.

some have suggested that Al Gore is using An Inconvenient Truth as a political tool for the 2008 US presidential elections. no surprise i say ‘bring him on!’ – if it hadn’t been for 11+ years of Little Johnny’s politically expedient amorality, i’d still be wondering why American’s kept the Evil Chimp in power for 8 years too. others accuse Gore of scare-mongering. well, quiet little debates in science labs & school rooms, & government scientists being silenced or censored by their own government just isn’t getting the job done.

the dots have been connected.

the nay-sayer climate change ‘skeptics’ (a shameful miscarriage of the term) have been revealed as the self-interested greedy few, or their pandering politicians, posessing little or no scientific merit to justify further inaction (to say nothing of amoral cynical pseudo-skeptic-fanboys like Tim Blair who sprout vitriole & peddle inane examples of cold climates as supposed counter-proof, a policeman for the anti-bell-ringer mindset it would seem).

for many years Earth has been showing major signs that it is reaching saturation point in its ability to process our fossil-fuel emissions, and beyond which corrective action may take hundreds of years to reverse due to a run-away domino effect. almost every biological system on earth is in decline. how bad must it get before we wake up?

how can we possibly convince the rapidly developing world to adopt low greenhouse gas emitting technologies & techniques if we hypocritically don’t follow our own advice?

i’ll cover this more in a separate post, but addressing climate change in a sensible, global, prompt but staged manner holds enormous potential for commercial success, without horrific economic consequences. but to cut to the chase, it ultimately comes down to ordinary consumers becoming aware of the issues & the solutions, taking what steps they can as individuals, AND pressuring their elected representatives to do something. nothing will happen or change until we do. John Howard is living proof that Political Will is a renewable resource that springs from the Eternal Well Of Opinion Polls – all we need to do is point him in the correct direction.

someone once told me that a reasonable definition of stupidity is always doing the same thing, but expecting a different outcome. someone else once told me “for things to change, first i must change”. and another “think globally, act locally”. they all seem to have currency on this issue. we are all part of the problem, and we all can and need to be part of the solution.

it’s time to walk our talk that we care about the world we live in.

buy, borrow, beg, or download a copy if you must, but please watch this movie. watch it with a friend or two & talk about it afterward. watch the end credits seeded with ideas on how to do something.

like visiting for heaps of ideas we all can do to reduce our impact on global warming. some are easy, some are cheap, some just require a different way of thinking & aren’t really all that inconvenient. some will even keep you fit. ALL of them will make for a better world, a better home, in our own lifetimes.

and stay tuned here for details of my own efforts to reduce my ‘carbon footprint’ :-)




One response

24 03 2007

Hey you might be interested in this initiative.

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