Ok… so I finally rented the earth-melting, Oscar-grabbing, constituency-swaying (can I say that?) mega-documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Last night, Sarah, Stephanie Ridgeway, Clovis (a cat) and I hunkered down in the palatial mansion Steph was house-sitting, consumed a large pizza and an entire package of Nestle chocolate chip cookies, and watched in awe as Al Gore led us through a dramatic foretelling of the future that awaits our innocent planet.
Before I start, I need to address my previous post concerning Mr. Gore. Upon re-reading this article I noticed that this can be easily used as an “ad hominem” argument (eg: the spokesman for the anti-greenhouse movement uses a lot of energy, therefore the greenhouse argument must be incorrect). I really don’t intend to do this. The fact that Gore spends lots of money lighting his home (and doesn’t drive a hybrid in the documentary) just means that he’s got a bit of hypocrisy going on; it doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t pay any attention to the issue at hand.
Back to the film. An Inconvenient Truth, as you probably know, is a recording of Al Gore’s “global warning” slide show. It’s a collection of scientific figures, personal anecdotes, and predictions as to the future effects of greenhouse gases. I’m not really an authority for evaluating the scientific validity of these claims, so instead I’m going to focus on their presentation and the structure of the film itself. The slide show looks great (mad props go to Apple’s Keynote and Gore’s lovely MacBook Pro) with lots of crisp graphs and tasteful video content (Matt Groening‘s cartoon explaining greenhouse gases is enough incentive to see the film). Gore himself is an accomplished public speaker (I’ll admit I that it took a while to get over the accent) and develops great rapport with his audience, using humor to create interest in subjects as mundane as ice cores and snails. He’s amiable enough to allow people who really don’t care for him as a politician (Me, Sarah, and Stephanie) to at least listen to him.
The film intermittently breaks from the presentation to show some more typical documentary fare. There are a series of interviews voiced over shots of Gore walking his family’s farm, preparing slides for the presentation, conceding the 2000 election, etc. In these portions he talks about his son’s near death experience, the loss of his sister to lung cancer, and a myriad of other biographical topics, all of which are supposed to explain why he’s so driven to warn the world about global warming. For the most part these sections have little to do with the presentation itself and are overall poorly done. They play more like an episode of “Behind the Music” than a political documentary.
Here’s the scary part: as the credits begin to role, the viewer can’t help but think, “Wow… it seems like he might run for president again.” While Gore hasn’t announced any plans to run for president (third time’s the charm!) there are plenty of people who would like just that. This film runs the danger of making global warming the next trendy issue to sway elections (whether it’s Gore or someone else running). Not that environmental concerns aren’t important– they are. But there seems to be a great deal of other “inconvenient truths” that bear more weight to our current situation– things like the radical hate spewing from a nearly nuclear Iran). It would be a pity for the US to play hardball with auto manufacturers while letting Islamic extremists destroy the earth with nuclear weaponry.
Anyway, I still recommend this film. It’s well-done and it brings to light the reality of the effect we do have on our environment. There’s no point in continuing to damage the world we live in when we have to tools to live more moderate, efficient lives.
That being said, the real truth is that a time is coming when this world will pass away and a new earth will be established for an eternity with Jesus Christ. Whether you drive a Honda Prius or an ’85 Blazer, Jesus loves you and wants you to spend that eternity with Him.