An Inconvenient Truth

3:47 am PHT

Ever since I read last year a blog post about Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth from superblogger Kottke, I knew that it was one film that I would definitely watch. I was fortunate enough to happen to view the movie ads in a newspaper and to particularly learn that SM would have a limited screening of the documentary. (I’m not sure, but I think there was an earlier screening of this film when I was in Japan.)

So I went out a while ago and saw the film. An Inconvenient Truth was being shown only at SM North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia, and only at the last full show slot in the latter mall. I think it’s obvious which screening I saw. Anyway, it was funny how the ticket lady warned me, “Sir, documentary siya, hindi movie. Ok lang?” ("Sir, it’s a documentary, not a movie. Is it ok?”) I assured her that it was perfectly fine. I wonder what was going on in her mind when she said that; do I look like someone randomly picking a movie and would not want to watch a documentary? Also, documentaries are still movies.

What’s not funny is how many people saw the film. There were only about ten of us in the theater. It’s sad because after seeing this, I realized that this is definitely one movie that everyone should watch.

An Inconvenient Truth is basically a souped-up film version of the presentation on global warming that Al Gore has been giving for quite some time now. Climate change is something Al Gore has been very passionate about since his college years and you can see it when watching this movie.

The film makes a very compelling case for taking the phenomenon of global warming seriously and is a call to action for rectifying the damage humans have inflicted on the planet. Gore manages to present the broad scientific evidence for human-induced global warming accurately and does so in a manner that makes it easy for laypeople to understand and digest. Particularly thought-provoking was his presentation slide depicting a graph of the dramatic rise of C02 levels that’s way more than the earth has seen for the last 600,000 years and how it correlates with the average worldwide temperature. In the words of Gore, it’s “off the charts.” Equally striking were the numerous before-and-after shots of the retreating glaciers around the world and satellite pictures of breaking ice shelves in the Antarctic.

It’s really, really tragic that Gore lost the 2000 U.S. presidential elections to George W. Bush. Being president, Gore would’ve made radical yet rational policy changes in the U.S. for reversing or mitigating global warming. It’s a fact that the U.S. far outstrips the rest of the world in carbon emissions on an aggregate and even on a per capita basis. The Bush administration has been much too sidetracked with the Iraqi quagmire and has been shown to be behind efforts to influence American public opinion against the evidence for human-induced global warming. So far, among the 169 signatory countries to the Kyoto Protocol, only the U.S. and Australia (among the Annex I countries) have refused to ratify this treaty.

Going back to the movie, An Inconvenient Truth is a highly educational film. It’s usually dead-serious, but with sprinklings of humor throughout (like “Hello, I’m Al Gore and I used to be the next President of the United States”) it’s not entirely boring. I really, really encourage you to go and see it. In the words of David Remnick, it’s “not the most entertaining film of [2006]. But it might be the most important.”

For a complementary presentation on C02 and global warming, see “Zooming Out in Time” by John Baez.

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