Tell it, Al
At first, watching Al Gore’s passion for the environment in “An Inconvenient Truth” is like salt in a currently open wound. It conjures up images of a United States with a leader focusing on a truly global and pressing issue. It positions Gore as the perfect man to rally citizens and protect them from their own doing. And it reminds how our current administration has ignored and even hindered awareness of the largest issue in our time – global warming. But then, this thought helped.It’s been said you can’t change a system from within. Perhaps Gore lost because he had to tell us about global warming outside the political arena; an arena which the general public seems to now allow a certain amount of corruption into like insect parts into cereal.Any doubts about the environmental change that is taking place is removed by “An Inconvenient Truth.” Gore explains global warming like a high school science text come to life. Then he blows your mind with line graphs which go back 600,000 years and show current trends that are off the charts – in carbon dioxide levels, population numbers and predicted temperatures in the near future.Gore has traveled around the world showing the slideshow he presents in the film. The staggering consequences of global warming are juxtaposed with clips and memories of Gore’s own life. The images and memories of his boyhood, his first encounter with the scientific phenomenon in college, his failed presidential bid and his father’s tobacco fields let us see him as a man. And from there we can respect the way he approaches obstacles.There are two particularly moving moments in the movie which made me glad I saw it. One, is the image of the Earth breathing; in a year’s time the planet takes in carbon dioxide during the summer and spring and emits it during the fall and winter. The other is the polar bear, which, after swimming so long looking for a glacier to dock and never finding one, drowns.Although it’s all bad news from the standpoint of sticking with the status quo, it’s all good looking at our past victories and moral triumphs as Gore encourages and offers solutions.And that’s what this issue comes down to for Gore – not a political one, but a moral one. He takes a nation burned by Hurricane Katrina and shows them how to take their hand off the stove.Going into it as a documentary, I’d give it five out of five stars. It should be noted, however, that if you walk into the theater expecting an entertaining summer flick, this isn’t it.Vail, Colorado
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