I listen to quite a few science podcasts and the notions of climate change, melting glaciers, starving polar bears and a rise in sea levels are not foreign to me. I am already concerned about these things. Last night though I went to see An Inconvenient Truth, the movie where Al Gore puts the facts together into a compelling presentation.
An Inconvenient Truth offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man’s fervent crusade to halt global warming’s deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.
Since it was a fundraiser for the Greens, Green MP Sue Kedgley introduced the movie for us, pointing out two things:
- The part where Gore says residents of flooding Pacific Islands are fleeing to New Zealand is not true.
- When asked why the movie is long on explanations and short on solutions Al Gore replied that it’s because his audiences in the US still need to learn that global warming is happening, as many don’t yet understand the facts.
Here in New Zealand we have strong relationships with the Pacific. It’s well known here that in places like Tuvalu, where the land is at most only 5 metres above sea level, rising levels are a major immediate threat and concern. In a few years it may be the case that the country’s 10,000 inhabitants will be forced to relocate to New Zealand and other nearby countries.
In the movie Gore pointed out that if major parts of Greenland or the Antarctic ice were to melt (as seems entirely possible) the world could be faced with a 20 foot rise in sea level. There are many parts of the world where that would have a catastrophic effect on inhabitants of coastal areas. Here in hilly Wellington it would surely flood all of our coastal routes, the airport, the downtown business and government areas.
While US president Bush carries out the ‘War on Terror’ we’re all so familiar with, it seems the US administration is ignoring another war that is so crucial: the ‘War on Warming’. Gore’s presentation made a point that the US is responsible for about a third of all CO2 emissions.
And, according to a magazine article I was reading the other day, our own government is doing no better on curbing New Zealand’s contributions to the problem. We, as individuals, also have a responsibility to look at our own actions. I have reduced the use of my car, we use some low energy lightbulbs, turn off lights and so on when we’re not in a room, recycle paper, glass, plastic, and tin cans. I recently planted about 30 cuttings from cabbage trees on and near our property. Now we all need to look further at what can be done at home and abroad to pull our planet back from the brink of extinction.
If you haven’t yet seen the movie or one of the live presentations, then you owe t to yourself to watch it. It’s sobering but not all doom and gloom depression. It’s superbly put together, and very very far from some dry, boring, hectoring presentation.