Tip of the Quill: A Journal
An Inconvenient Truth.
An Inconvenient Truth

Tonight my housemate Jared and I caught a screening of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth at Harvard Square. (Those links go to IMDB; the official site for the movie is climatecrisis.net.) All of my friends that have seen it had been calling it “a surprisingly uplifting, compelling movie about Al Gore and a PowerPoint presentation.” That’s fairly accurate. The majority of the film is Gore giving a speech about global warming to an auditorium of students, but the genius of it is the way it’s intercut with anecdotes from Gore’s own life. Gore talks briefly about having his childhood divided between D.C. (his father was also a Congressman) and his family’s tobacco farm, a little bit about his take on the election (yes, that election), about nearly losing his son – and he talks about all of it with nobility and grace. He then systematically goes through the basic objections to global warming (“It’s a liberal conspiracy”, “scientists are in debate as to whether global warming exists at all”) and smacks down every one. He even goes so far as to show how Hurricane Katrina was amplified by global warming.
All told, An Inconvenient Truth is both informative and inspiring, but I don’t think it goes far enough on the opportunities at hand. Gore falls back on the usual treehugger tactic of stock footage of a lush, tranquil wilderness and bemoans how awful it will be if our grandkids never enjoy it. True, absolutely true, but it doesn’t really kick the motivation into high gear. We’ve grown jaded enough so that tactic doesn’t really work. What he (and the other environmentalists) need to do is tie profit to preservation. He touches on this briefly when demonstrating how Ford and GM are still in the crapper while foreign auto companies like Honda and Toyota are making real financial gains through the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles, but he doesn’t go for the grand slam, which would be demonstrating how much ridiculous wealth will be generated by whoever comes up with the best replacement for the oil barons. Energy will always be profitable in some way, shape or form – and since oil is on its way out, there’s a whole generation of new energy barons waiting to be born. That’s where I thought Gore was going with the film, but he stopped short of really exploring the opportunities.
Oh, well. Maybe in the sequel.