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May 05, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

(Posted by John.)

So the President-in-exile was in Toronto last night pitching his film, and a family member was able to score tickets.  We watched the movie, then Gore himself arrived to answer some questions.

John's one-sentence review:  Every single last one of you has to see this film.

Longer version below the fold.

For those who don't know, An Inconvenient Truth is a film about a slideshow that Gore has given all over the world, trying to sound the alarm bell about what he is calling "the Climate Crisis."  The slideshow and the film both go over, in some detail, the science behind climate change and the likely effects.  At the very end, Gore also talks very briefly (too briefly, in my mind) about the potential for averting the disaster before us.

That's my one complaint about this film - at 97 minutes, it could easily have used another 15 minutes or so explaining in the same kind of detail and breadth the potential for turning our particular Titanic away from the icebergs.

What surprised me about An Inconvenient Truth was not Gore's passion or his intelligence - both have been on ample display since he was robbed in 2000.  (Sadly, more abundantly on display since 2000 than before.)  No, what is honestly surprising is how accessible Gore (and the filmmakers, obviously) makes the science behind climate change.  I've studied this stuff pretty extensively as a layman, and I know how difficult it can be to explain to people that No, This Is Different.  Gore manages to be both accessible and alarming without coming off (to me, anyway) as hysterical.

The film is also a very personal one.  Gore recounts how the two big traumas in his life - the near-loss of his son, and the death of his sister from lung cancer - both changed his ways of thinking.  His son's near-death made him realize that leaving this planet in a liveable condition for the next generation is a moral imperative, and the death of his sister made him realize how their prosperity (the Gores grew tobacco) had contributed to the death of a loved one.

The question-and-answer period after the movie was gratifying as well.  Asked what hope Gore sees for religious communities to turn public opinion around, Gore noted the good works some evangelical churches are doing.  Gore explicitly compared those who believe that the Rapture makes environmentalism unnecessary to suicide bombers.  Take that, Jenkins & LaHaye.

I don't think I've seen a politician of such obvious intelligence speak since the last time I watched Clinton on TV.  Even in a Canadian audience, there were two questioners who begged him to run in 2008, and I wasn't the only one calling him Mr. President.  In the end, AIT is depressing not for its content but for its context - as Atrios has said, this is a film of what might have been.

May 5, 2006 | Permalink


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And how different things would likely be today....

I get my undies in a twist every time I think how the 2000 campaign was mismanaged by Gore's team (and his wavering, as well), misrepresented by the media, and manipulated in the vote counting. Real anger, still yet.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 5, 2006 1:59:07 PM

Gore is really 'serial' about the Climate Crisis.

Posted by: Adrock | May 5, 2006 2:48:47 PM

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