JWR Articles: Film/DVD - An Inconvenient Truth (Director: Davis Guggenheim) - January 17, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

4 4
100 min.

Reviewed at the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival
Willful blindness heats up

“Are we capable of rising above ourselves?” asks near-President Al Gore in the closing moments of his informative, insightful and politically flavoured lecture on global warming. Over the course of the documentary, the reality of the world’s largest economy and its corporate-backed leaders’ unquenchable quest for cash and moral dominance under the guise of progress and liberation demonstrates conclusively that the planet is headed for natural calamities created by unnatural squandering of resources so that the privileged few can live off the sweat, backs and lives of the many.

Gore’s got his presentation down to a finely honed state, filled with all manner of graphs, charts, video clips and some partisan humour (seems a school chum who couldn’t fathom the fact that South America and Africa were once a single continent is a science advisor in the current administration) that does much to explain why the temperature continues to rise (2006 has just been declared as the hottest ever in the U.S.), the icecaps in Greenland and Antarctica continue to fall into the sea and devastating hurricanes, typhoons and tornados continue to rearrange much of the world’s landscape/cityscapes with increasing regularity.

Yet, as is so often the case, those who need to hear his apocalyptic warning are too busy studying the tea leaves of electoral polling to take the time to think an issue through, then act accordingly.

“All I know is last weekend when I got home from Ottawa there was more snow in my driveway than we usually get in a year. And I was begging for Big Al’s Glacial Melt when the mercury hit -24,” said Penticton (British Columbia) resident and Public Safety Minister, Stockwell Day (also well-known for his in-depth knowledge of river flows).

“Countries such as Canada are very good at creating growth. We are not very good at creating ‘green growth.’ We still think of growth first, then tack on green as an afterthought,” wrote Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson recently.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is currently under review. Canada’s highly respected researchers have been bemoaning the deep cuts that over many years have eroded environmental monitoring. “We’ve gone from having superb agencies in the 1970’s to where there is nothing left. As a result, we have weak laws and the enforcement of [them] is deficient,” said water researcher Dr. David Schindler in an interview about the need to bring Canada’s pollution problems under control.

The production is a marvel of editing (Jay Lash Cassidy, Dan Swietlik); the ominous pedal strings as the opening river-sequence becomes “polluted” with all manner of emissions is a subtle metaphor by composer Michael Brook for the inertia of those who could/should act on behalf of the powerless majority. Gore offers prescriptions for change (many of those interspersed with the closing credits) and vows to communicate as far and wide as possible to get his message home (and remain in the public’s Democratic eye).

See for yourself: http://www.climatecrisis.net/.

Yet even though scientists realize the danger, much of the media (and their devoted readers—some of whom couldn’t imagine parting with their Hummers) remain sceptical (Gore suggests a 50/50 split in a survey of over 600 articles, fuelling confusion, lack of public demand for change—a.k.a. opinion polls). If only Nature would cooperate and deliver consistently debate-proving results. Southern California’s record-breaking cold temperatures in the first month of 2007 (threatening 75% of the citrus crop) will be pointed to with conviction by the naysayers who will use that weather event as evidence against global warming and then begin their campaign to combat global cooling by aggressively increasing the world’s oil and gas reserves. JWR

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Director - Davis Guggenheim
Sound - Daniel S. McCoy
Original Music - Michael Brook
Music Editor - Susan Smith
Host - Al Gore
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Brit Films.TV Palm Springs International Film Festival
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