Go. See. This. Film.
Seriously. If you haven’t yet seen it, please please PLEASE make the effort to do so. Skip “Superman,” or “DaVinci Code” or whatever blockbuster you were planning to see, and see this instead. Even if you dislike Al Gore, or disagree with his politics, you owe it to yourself, your children, your world to go and see it. Yesterday, I took my seven-year-old son to see it, and as far as I’m concerned, this is probably the single most important film ever made, because it just might make the difference in whether or not the human race as we know it will survive. And if you’re shaking your head now and thinking I’m being overly dramatic, go and see the film and see if you still think that way afterward.
Because I was a skeptic. Oh sure, there is some global warming happening – that’s obvious – but I’d never seen anything to suggest it went beyond normal, cyclical fluctuations in temperature. After all, we know our planet has gone in and out of ice ages, etc. And we’ve only kept temperature data for a relatively short period of time. So how were we to know this wasn’t just a normal thing? Nothing to be upset about, in any case. Plus, isn’t the world just too BIG for our ant-like little activities to have any effect?
After seeing this film I have completely changed my mind. We might not have been keeping data for long, but the earth herself has, and Gore presents geological data that shows very clearly that the warming that is happening now is way, way, WAY beyond anything that is part of the normal cycles of our planet. WAY beyond.
Global warming is real. It’s caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and we are directly causing it with our activities. And because of this, global weather patterns are changing, causing devastating storms, drought, disease, and promising even more destruction in the future. To give just one example (the one I found most terrifying) – if polar ice continues to melt at accellerated rates, our planet’s sea level will rise. And a rise of 20 feet (which would happen if half of Greenland and half of Antarctica were to melt – does it sound unlikely? Yeah, I thought so too – only it’s already started happening). If the sea level were to rise by just this much – say goodbye to most of Florida, large parts of San Francisco and Manhattan, an area of India where 60 million people now live. And that’s just to name a few of the places that would be affected. I won’t spend more time on details, because I am urging you to go out and do your own research.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we already have the knowledge and technology to halt, even to reverse, this problem. It means changing our society’s relationship to fossil fuels (in particular), and there are some powerful and vocal forces in our society who don’t want to do this (mostly because some of them are making a lot of money from the current system). We CAN overcome this short-sighted attitude, though. It’s do-able, if we all pull ourselves out of denial and into action. So go see this film. And, if you’re like me, you might be pleasantly surprised at just how engaging and funny this man can be. Not only did this film open my eyes, but I really enjoyed watching it. As did my son.
I am proud that I took my son to see this, and that together, he and I can find ways that we can make a difference. I think that’s going to be our “project” this summer. Reducing our family’s impact on the carbon emissions which cause global warming. I challenge each and every one of you to do the same. Start by going to see this film. We really can make a difference. And the alternative is simply too horrible to contemplate.