Friday, June 30, 2006

Movie: An Inconvenient Truth

This must be a good time to get caught up on things I've been meaning to do. I held off watching An Inconvenient Truth until Seth got back from Philly, then he saw it when I couldn't, and then I held off seeing it again. After seeing Al Gore on The Daily Show, I finally decided "what the fuck" and saw it.

Movie-wise, I thought about 80% of it was great. That 80% included the parts from Gore's talk on climate change, and the end with a list of things I can do to help. The other 20% were shots of Gore walking around airports, or news clips from the 2000 election, with voiceovers. I understand why that stuff was put in the movie - to help break things up a little, and to offer some personal perspective on why Gore feels so strongly about the environment - but those scenes bordered on tedium at some points.

Overall I thought it was fantastic, and certainly serves as a wakeup call - we're standing at a precipace from which there may soon be no escape, and the evidence in favor of human influence being the key contributing factor to the climate crisis is accepted by the scientific community (and, despite what you might read from the right side of the stadium, there isn't a single peer-reviewed scientific article that disputes that human influences are responsible for the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere).

After the movie, I was thinking a lot about some of the arguments people have taken against environmental action. The most common, of course, is that it's just too expensive. Why should we force American automobile manufacturers to produce cars that get more than 25 miles to the gallon (the current standard?) That's just too expensive! Never mind that evil, communist, rootin-tootin-pollutin China requires 35 miles to the gallon, meaning that America's cars can't be sold there - too expensive. And yet, GM is losing so much money that, yet again, they're laying off (pardon, buying out in UAW terms) 35,000 workers. SUVs are sitting on car lots, unsold. It's not environmental concern that has driven people away from the American cars that are so fuel-inefficient - it's high gas prices. But the important thing is that it's an economic factor that's starting to straighten people out. Environmentalism will only work if the economic factors are in place on a larger scale - if there's truly a legitimate, money-saving reason to do these kinds of things in the long term. And I think people are slowly starting to realize there is. Whether it's Energy Star appliances or light bulbs that use less power, or putting solar panels on your roof so you can get credit for feeding power back into the grid, or buying a Honda Civic because you're too tired of plunking down $30 to fill up your Neon every four days, it really does makes sense to be responsible, and I think - I hope - more and more people are beginning to realize it.

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