Sunday, June 11, 2006

World: The bottom line of Global Warming: An inconvenient Truth

"the era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences."
- Winston Churchill

Global Warming is An Inconvenient Truth - and that's the name of a dynamite film (which kicked off my sojourn at this year's Sydney Film Festival).

This film is the clearest and most comprehensive overview of global warming that I have ever seen. Its basis is a graphical presentation given by Al Gore, who has constantly refined and updated it over the thousand plus times he has given the talk.

I am suspicious of activist films, simply because I don’t expect to learn anything new. But the power of the presentation is undeniable: if Gore gave his talk in Sydney, I’d be there in an instant. The message is direct, the most succinct it’s ever been, and the presenter has won my renewed respect.

The outcome is frightening: even if we act now, the oceans will likely rise 6 metres, which will result in 100 MILLION refugees from lowlying areas in India, Bangladesh, China, the Pacific, and so on. The west is barely able to acknowledge current refugee situations (Darfur, for instance); we will become a spiritually poorer world as we knock back their suffering and focus on our own problems. Massive infrastructure investment will be needed to protect and mitigate.

A survey of a random 10% of over 9000 published (peer-reviewed) scientific articles gave NO dissent from the fact of global warming; a similar review of newspaper articles showed 53% expressed doubts about this reality. That is a very stark illustration of the extent to which the public is misled. A clear parallel was made between this situation and the “doubt” spread by tobacco companies when the links between tobacco and cancer were scientifically drawn.

The film clearly shows other climactic effects that we are already seeing. Desertification, extremes of weather: increased drought, heat and violent storms in particular.

This is the first work in any medium that draws together all strands of the issue in a complete summation of the issues. It even deals with the temptation to move straight from uncertainty to do-nothing despair: there are always things you can do. At the very minimum, a) vote strategically to make this issue top of the agenda; b) change your electricity source to (certified) green energy – most energy companies now have this option. More than this, the film and web site has many suggestions.

The web site for the film also has a trailer - take a look.

Whether you’re a climate change skeptic or think you know it already, this film is a must-see. It should be text-book material in all schools.

What will you say to your children about your action at this pivotal point in history?

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