Monday, June 19, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth: Not All Gore

The film An Inconvenient Truth "starring" Al Gore may be just as dramatic as any movie out there. We've heard, read, and seen for years that global warming is here and is a growing problem which is already affecting climate, glaciers, and water supplies around the world, but this film clearly shows it. The show was very informative, visually and graphically interesting. There were a number of important points made in the film. The most important is that humanity is not doing enough to stop the problem of global warming. Excellent before and after pictures of various glaciers and lakes in the world were shown, and the amount they have receded was startling. Important lakes in the north of Africa, and Russia have practically dried up, the ice is thinning in the arctic, and more ice is falling from Antartic glaciers.
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Another major point is that although people and governments have known this for years, northern hemisphere nations, the U.S. in particular, are the worst contributors to greenhouse gases. Back in 1990 I listened to two tapes by David Suzuki called "It's a Matter of Survival". In the tapes he described a scenario in 50 years from then, in which ocean levels around the world would rise to cover much of what is now beach front properties, communities, cities, and reaching 10 and in some cases 100 of miles inland. Gore's Inconvenient Truth covers this similiarly. But its excellent use of graphics makes it all more real.

One more major point was that many people seem to for various reasons, not consider the effects that global warming is having on the earth. Perhaps because it is a relatively gradual process which chips away at parts of our climate and environment insidiously and surely, but not overnight. We live in a consumer and product focused society where material things and consumption is seen to be the "American", "Canadian" or whatever nations dream (Canada was ranked 28th out of 30 industrial nations for its environment performance - Suzuki, Telegram, June 18, 2006). Living a simpler life is never advertised.

Most of society are not conditioned to conserve because that would mean not buying as much to keep the economic engines going. The ideas of recycling and conserving gas is out there, but it is up to us as individuals to do our parts, like more recycling, consuming less gas, etc. As a whole people have alot of power. The less need for some of the products that pollute then the less pollutants. It is also up to our governments to live up to pledges to cut back on emissions that contribute to the problem.

As we are never advised to actually save our money, not spend, only if it benefits banks, credit card companies, investors, etc., similiarly we are hardly encouraged to cut down on material purchases, transportation, and large consumption because it makes a small portion of society very rich. The idea of consuming is associated with buying happiness. Conversely if you do without then you're missing out on happiness. Of course we do need plenty of material things to live, and have comfort, however, the methods to manufacture them, manage, and recycle have much room for improvement.

I did not expect the theatre to be packed when I saw an Inconvenient Truth. It's not a typical movie, where most expect typical drama from lifes relationships, action, special effects, or pyro-technics. This was evident as I counted eight people in the theatre to see this show. However, the film must be creating a bit of a worry among big industry groups. Suzuki again, in a June 4 article (Telegram), points out that America's big free-market think-tanks ... funded largely by big industries, come up with all sorts of unusual claims and statements to justify the status quo and make sure that big, profitable, polluting industries continue to be big, profitable polluting industries. Two recent 30 second television ads in the U.S. say,
... The fuels that produce CO2 have freed us from a world of backbreaking labour. Now politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What would our lives be like then?... They call it pollution. We call it life.
The good news is that more people are becoming aware of global warming issues, and angry. For example, a recent Canadian study showed that children had more toxins in their bodies than their parents. Several mothers interviewed on CBC were alarmed at this finding. The same study showed evidence that pollutants which were banned after some children were born, were still found in their bodies because it was still transmitted from the mother to child. Like the effects of nicotine and trans fats had been covered up for years, how many more contaminants exist around us, or are consumed by us, that do harm to our bodies, are still being cover up? Companies who manufacture dangerous substances, and pollute the environment want the status quo to remain. However, it is not in our best interest, only their's.

In the case of Aur Resources Duck Pond mining project, it appears they will take advantage of poor economic circumstances to insist that it's either their way or no way. They could be giving people a choice of how to handle toxic tailings but they are not doing so. They and other mining companies have done this around the world, and because some governments are so desperate for money, and need to show employment happening, that companies like Aur can take the easy way, and not have any ethical concerns for our environment. To some it may seem like, "hey, it's only one mining project," but again, it is a chipping away of part of a healthy environment which is gradually taking place, here, Canada and around the world. Bit by bit, pollution accumulates and contributes to the overall problem. Future generations will have more problems to cope with unless our generation and governments take action to stop the effects of global warming.

This film is worth seeing. There's alot of information, but it gives great information and visual evidence about how places are already being affected by the problem of global warming.

8 comments:

SkylarKD said...

Very interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, but I don't think there are any plans to show it in Fredericton, so I may have to wait for the DVD.

I've never been much of an environmentalist, but lately I've been seriously trying to change my habits to reduce my garbage, emmissions and pollutants - here's hoping I can make a significant dent in them!

kodak said...

Yeah it's too bad that it is not a "regular" movie so that more people could see it. But in recent years, movies in this genre are popping up more, like "Bowling for Columbine", "Supersize Me", etc.

I am no extreme environmentalist by any means, but the fact is we are living through a sad climate change. Oil tankers used to be able to cross a frozen lake in Alaska all year round, now that amount is just over 170 because the ice is thinning much quicker. Anyway I try to do my part too, especially with recycling.

NL-ExPatriate said...

I have a problem with the claims that global warming is going to cause the ice caps to melt and hence the oceans will rise.

We live on a planet that is covered 70% with water. Not sure here but I think there is less than 10% ice coerage of the planet probably more like 1%.

Ice is has less volume than water because it expands. The glaciers aren't totally ice only the bottom layers which become compacted by the weight.

I've flown over the Artic ice caps while they might be big they are far from massive and covering extensive areas. Some are already in the water so are causing the water level to be raised because of their immersion.

I guess I'll have to go watch it.

Don't get me wrong I think we are doing irreperable damage to the climate in more ways than one. Alot of them are localized while some are global IE green house. Hence the tall stacks to put the pollutants up into the ar as far as possible so they won't affect the local area but rather those living down jet stream.

kodak said...

Nl-expat, I don't know how far you are from Dieppe, but it's playing there. To be sure of a time, go to this Empire Theatres address:

Nl-expat, I don't know how far you are from Dieppe, but it's playing there. To be sure of a time, go to this Empire Theatres address:

http://www.tribute.ca/empiretheatres/theatres/new_showtime_by_theatre1.asp?t_id=23&TH_ID=CRYST&Movie=ALL&Day=6/22/06

BNB said...

I've been hearing a lot about that movie. It was only in St. John's for a couple of days it seems. I should have watched it when I had the chance.

Ya, realistically there is no "Waterworld" type scenario that we need to worry about IMHO. The arguement to be made is that even a seemingly small rise of water levels in many areas can end up occupying a lot of land. Hard for us to imagine in Newfoundland where practically nothing is at sea level, but there are areas that are at and even below sea level that could have trouble. Like New Orleans - the fact that that place hasn't been washed out to sea boggles my mind.

Good points about pollutants too Kodak. I'll have to get a hold of the book or DVD to have a look.

BNB said...

...also I like the blog title :)

kodak said...

Tnks bnb. I'd say the dvd would probably be out sooner than other "good" movies because it is not the type to have a long showing at the theatres. It is pretty well done and from what I've read, respected scientists everywhere applaud this video and info - think you'll like it.

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