July 13, 2006 at 6:58 pm #15538
INCONVENIENT TRUTH By Roger Ebert
dailykos.com – June 2, 2006 – http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/6/2/19318/43872
I want to write this review so every reader will begin it and finish it. I am a liberal, but I do not intend this as a review reflecting any kind of politics. It reflects the truth as I understand it, and it represents, I believe, agreement among the world’s experts.
Global warming is real. It is caused by human activity. Mankind and its governments must begin immediate action to halt and reverse it.
If we do nothing, in about 10 years the planet may reach a “tipping point” and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization and most of the other species on this planet. After that point is reached, it would be too late for any action.
These facts are stated by Al Gore in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Forget he ever ran for office. Consider him a concerned man speaking out on the approaching crisis. “There is no controversy about these facts,” he says in the film. “Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.”
He stands on a stage before a vast screen, in front of an audience. The documentary is based on a speech he has been developing for six years, and is supported by dramatic visuals. He shows the famous photograph “Earthrise,” taken from space by th e first American astronauts. Then he shows a series of later space photographs, clearly indicating that glaciers and lakes are shrinking, snows are melting, shorelines are retreating.
He provides statistics: The 10 warmest years in history were in the last 14 years. Last year South America experienced its first hurricane. Japan and the Pacific are setting records for typhoons. Hurricane Katrina passed over Florida, doubled back over the Gulf, picked up strength from unusually warm Gulf waters, and went from Category 3 to Category 5. There are changes in the Gulf Stream and the jet stream. Cores of polar ice show that carbon dioxide is much, much higher than ever before in a quarter of a million years. It was once thought that such things went in cycles. Gore stands in front of a graph showing the ups and downs of carbon dioxide over the centuries. Yes, there is a cyclical pattern. Then, in recent years, the graph turns up and keeps going up, higher and higher, off the chart.
The primary man-made cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. We are taking energy stored over hundreds of millions of years in the form of coal, gas and oil, and releasing it suddenly. This causes global warming, and there is a pass-along effect. Since glaciers and snow reflect sunlight but sea water absorbs it, the more the ice melts, the more of the sun’s energy is retained by the sea.
Gore says that although there is “100 percent agreement” among scientists, a database search of newspaper and magazine articles shows that 57 percent question the fact of global warming, while 43 percent support it. These figures are the result, he says, of a disinformation campaign started in the 1990s by the energy industries to “reposition global warming as a debate.” It is the same strategy used for years by the defenders of tobacco. My father was a Lucky smoker who died of lung cancer in 1960, and 20 years later it was still “debatable” that there was a link between smoking and lung cancer. Now we are talking about the death of the future, starting in the lives of those now living.
“The world won’t ‘end’ overnight in 10 years,” Gore says. “But a point will have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction.”
In England, Sir James Lovelock, the scientist who proposed the Gaia hypothesis (that the planet functions like a living organism), has published a new book saying that in 100 years mankind will be reduced to “a few breeding couples at the Poles.” Gore thinks, “that’s too pessimistic. We can turn this around just as we reversed the hole in the ozone layer. But it takes action right now, and politicians in every nation must have the courage to do what is necessary. It is not a political issue. It is a moral issue.”
When I said I was going to a press screening of “An Inconvenient Truth,” a friend said, “Al Gore talking about the environment! Boring!” This is not a boring film. The director, Davis Guggenheim, uses words, images and Gore’s concise litany of facts to build a film that is fascinating and relentless. In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.
Am I acting as an advocate in this review? Yes, I am. I believe that to be “impartial” and “balanced” on global warming means one must take a position like Gore’s. There is no other view that can be defended. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Envi onment Committee, has said, “Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” I hope he takes his job seriously enough to see this film. I think he has a responsibility to do that.
What can we do? Switch to and encourage the development of alternative energy sources: Solar, wind, tidal, and, yes, nuclear. Move quickly toward hybrid and electric cars. Pour money into public transit, and subsidize the fares. Save energy in our houses.
I did a funny thing when I came home after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth.” I went around the house turning off the lights.
Please share this message with your friends. Let’s raise awarenessJuly 14, 2006 at 11:41 am #15539
I’m a thinker and not a scientists, so for what it’s worth…
I’m very skeptical of all the alarmists. 30 years ago it was global-cooling, now it’s global-warming. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that humans are doomed in X number of years if they don’t change. But whatever the problem, the solution is always the same: more government control of our lives.
The past 100 years, the temperature has increased anywhere from 0.6C to 0.8C.
Around 1200 AD, something called the Little Ice Age started. Since the 17th Century, the temperature has been rising at this low steady rate.
Interestingly, from 1940 to 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a global-cooling scare.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased from a rate of about 0.2% per year to the present 0.4% per year. Less than 1% a year!
The oceans themselves put CO2 into the atmosphere. As the temperature goes up, they output more.
CO2 is used by plant life. As we breath out, they breath in. More CO2 in the atmosphere improves plant life.
Computer models are not fact. Many are known to be flawed. The best example of a flawed model involves the infamous hockey stick.
And while crashing glaciers into the ocean make for emotional images, ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. We’re coming out of an ice age!
Interestingly, the western Arctic is getting warmer, while the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.
And then consider that there’s global warming on Mars! Planets warm and cool all without man.
So, I’m not sure what’s happening on the planet. I do know that we can’t kill this planet. It will be here long after we’re gone. I also know that man’s future is not to stay on this planet. Human life is too special and fragile to keep on one planet.
So scientists and politicians that want to tell me what to do can tell someone else. I personally want the power consumption of a small city. I leave my lights on with pride and leave the water running while I brush my teeth. I don’t recycle and use gasoline with a smile.
These are problems that need a technological solution, not a human labor solution. The way forward is more innovation and more science. The United States is one of the cleanest countries in the world because we’ve developed the technology to clean up the messes we made in the past. In the future, we’ll develop the technology to clean up the messes we’re making today.July 14, 2006 at 12:07 pm #15541
Here is a disagreement.
In meditation I had an intuition that the pyramidal way we have structured our society was symbolic of the energy of the times. The earth will always change,if we are not sensitive to it, or flexible as a society, we will have some big problems. The energy problems we have are just symbolic of the pyramidal structure. I do agree we are helping the process along but I find that AL Gore offers no real solution. Some might say that his movie is apart of some baby steps to a real solution. My feeling is that it will divide, and increase fear. I would love to see some one argue, and question the principals and fundamental of our society. There was an interesting political philosophy teacher that attempted to shake things up his name was John Rawls. The philosophical arguement of how a society should be structured is an important one. It is one of those things you will never see two politicians arguing over. Now would I say is it the most important no. The most important work I see is that of balancing and harmonizing the relationships we have. Wheather thats the 5 shen, the manifested verses the unmanifested, and the inner and outer worlds.July 14, 2006 at 2:01 pm #15543
I agree with you mostly. my actions are a litttle different — i most of the time recycle, turn the lights off when i’m not in a room (b/c i can’t afford to leave them on) and drive a honda (can’t afford to fill up the gas tank too often–but i do commute to work 35 miles), but i agree that this earth will be around a LONG time after us. it was here BILLIONS of years before us and catastrophies have occured time and again that would have made global warming look like nothing but a nice summer day, and here the earth is, and here we are. i do think that we could be more friendly to her (the earth) — in fact, the sooner that somthing wipes our species off the planet the better it will be for her (don’t get me wrong, i’m not in any rush), but we won’t be the end of her. it goes along with saving endangered species. i write my senator/ congressman everytime i get one of those emails from wwf and ?some other one? but if you look far enough back, this is a natural process of the earth. it just scares the hell out of us b/c our recorded history doesn’t go back but a fraction of a second (if you’re judging time the way the earth would). well, this debate will go on and on, and after we’re all dead, the earth will have a good chuckle.July 14, 2006 at 3:18 pm #15545
Interesting set of responses so far, you guys.
We are here on earth to grow and work out our unresolved energies and if we did not have the permission and cooperation of the earth, who is an enormous entity far more powerful that we are, we would not be here. If It did not want us to be here (and,likely, it’s a cooperative effort, It could shake us off into space with two major sneezes and that would be that. We have some work to do and it is internal.
The poiticians, etc have no real answers to our situation except that some, like brother Al, are saying we have to change our ways now and cooperate with nature instead of abusing the planet and ourselves for insane profit making motives. IN other words, we have to change our intentions.
I think it is necessary to move into ways that are in balance which means not wasting what we have but using it all properly. Not to recycle is not only to waste but to increase pollution and the burden on the environment. (A smiling slap on your wrist, Yi Tao!) Using gasoline to some extent is necessary if one wants to have any kind of a life in society. But using it consciously with the intent of switching to something sustainable is healthy.
We will not ever make any lasting changes to “the environment” or “the system” without changing what’s inside us since the state of the environment and the current systems are outer reflections of the global psyche in whatever condition it is in at the moment.
I think the importance of Al Gore’s work is the same as Michael Moore’s and people like them who reflect parts of the global psyche that want change and seek to put forth truth about what is actually happening instead of the cover-up deceit that the unenlightened human ego tends to create ad nauseum to keep from facing itself – which is the root of all the problems for us on earth.
As far as the science goes, it seems obvious that the environment is straining to balance the negativity being generated by many many millenium of human denial and resistance. Whether it is global warming, cooling, or something else doesn’t matter. There are always discordant opinions between groups which, when taken at a glance or even when analysed, seem equally plausible. This, to me, is an indication that figuring things out with the mind is not ever going to produce the answers spiritual presence can produce without thinking about it at all. THIS, I believe, is the state we are learning to embody now. This is Wu Wei, action stemming from Oneness.
We have had the scientific technology for over five decades to clear the environment and have a fully sustainable economy but we just won’t use it. Humans are abjectly afraid of change for the better. People will en masse accept what is newly created by technology that profits the corporations and is mostly bad for them because to accept what would be good for them would mean they would have to face their most dread spiritual issues and feel the guilt of it all. The unenlightened ego will not go for this and that is why the probable cause of any great change on earth will be an influx of so much pure positive energy that the old simply falls apart, takes a lot of people with it and leaves those here who are flexible enough to live in their hearts and allow change for the better by letting go of resistant, fear-based ego behavior and recognizing their divine natures as the truth of their being.
I heard an interesting lecture on CD recently by a Science Of Mind Practitioner who presented correct translations for many of the words in the Beatitudes of the New Testament. It seems that the Greeks did not know how to translate many Aramaic terms properly. In the sentence “The meek shall inherit the earth” the word “meek” is a mistranslation of the Aramaic word/concept for gentle and flexible, and implies someone who had rigidity but let go of it in favor of acceptance and love.
I guess we’ll see what happens!
-AlexanderJuly 14, 2006 at 4:21 pm #15547
I do not recycle because it wastes time, energy, and space. I even think recycling is detrimental to our lives and our economy.
I’m not creating pollution, but opportunity. I am a part of nature, not outside of it.
We are part of the environmental system; the circle of life. In the most basic sense, all life takes something out of the environment and then puts something else back. Plants take in CO2 and give out O2. We take in O2 and give back CO2. Neither is wrong or evil. Each is a part of nature.
But balance becomes the ultimate truth. Problems start when a system goes out of balance. But this imbalance also leads to opportunity and possibilities that wouldn’t have existed without the imbalance.
Humans have an incredible ability to affect the circle of life. We can twist it and pervert it. Often, we have no clue what we’re doing and many times we create imbalances. But given enough time we can learn along the way and get it right or at least better. Have you ever considered the absolute filth humanity lived in during early human history? Open sewers in the streets were common. Drinking wells were dug next to cesspools. We are young and still learning.
Which gets me back to recycling. We are creating an imbalance: trash dumps. But since we have intelligence, we can see the possibilities and opportunities. My favorite possibility is the trash dump power station and raw material generator. It will soon be possible to park a big old building on a trash dump and use the trash to generate electricity and produce raw material. This will not cost money to operate, but will generate profit, making them easy to build and maintain. All without recycling by human hands.
As we progress along through time, we should endeavor to do less, not more work. We’ll always create problems, but every problem has more than one solution. I want to be able to choose the best solution for me without the government telling me what, when and where I can do something.July 14, 2006 at 4:55 pm #15549
“The poiticians, etc have no real answers to our situation except that some, like brother Al, are saying we have to change our ways now and cooperate with nature instead of abusing the planet and ourselves for insane profit making motives. IN other words, we have to change our intentions.”
I was talking about political philosophy. There are fundamantal ideas that have turned into ideals and if not brought out to the open and discussed it will be there to do its work in the dark. There are illuisions of the mind that are not challenged. Agian is this the most important work? No. But what does it look like when a politician, musician, or engineer deepens his relationship with the life force?
Is Al Gore really saying that? I find both Al Gore and Michael Moore to be part of the mechanism that divides us. I have watched there stuff and I did not feel that they made attempts to dispel the othersides arguements.
“In the sentence “The meek shall inherit the earth” the word “meek” is a mistranslation of the Aramaic word/concept for gentle and flexible, and implies someone who had rigidity but let go of it in favor of acceptance and love.”
Thank you for adding your two cents to this topic. I also feel most people miss understand it to mean poeple of non action or weakness.July 14, 2006 at 7:04 pm #15551
“I want to be able to choose the best solution for me without the government telling me what, when and where I can do something.”
Becareful of people that wish to give you what you want, and not what you need. If you need more clarification on this I would be happy to explain. The strongest control right now are those who control your chooses. I am not saying we need bigger goverment. In fact I hope there will be a time when the only dogma people live by is “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. But having fundamental ideas and laws that create a enviroment that supports a beautiful society is not a bad thing. At least I do not feel it to be.
“do not recycle because it wastes time, energy, and space. I even think recycling is detrimental to our lives and our economy.”
Its true so often poeple want to do good things they just do not understand the economic implications.
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