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An Inconvenient Truth
by Al Gore
Al Gore tone of voice can still be very boring at times (no matter how much passion he clearly puts into his strong arguments) yet this is a fascinating and very impressive collection of information. The topic is about causes and dynamics of global warming and we have to thank him for putting all of this together and spreading this message around the world. It is a call to action, to sensitive ‘moral’ action (as Gore puts it); it is a call that should, at the very least, make all of us inhabitants of the planet Earth realize the strong sense of interconnectedness that, no matter what, we share. A few simple concepts really stand out:
Our Civilization and planet Earth on a collision path...
This collision is based upon three key factors:
1) population increase, with the relevant increase in consumption of natural resources. We just need to look at the numbers concerning the last fifty years to realize the impact of this.
2) the scientific and technical revolution of the last two hundred years have brought many positive changes to our lives and in many ways they have increased our living standards yet we need to pay attention to this equation:
old habits + old technology = predictable effects
old habits + NEW technology = unpredictable effects (see global warming dynamics)
The key here is not to oppose to new technology, rather it is to change our old habits in relation to the new technology in order to make the relevant effects more predictable.
3) our way of thinking is set to adjust gradually to changes without actually actively responding and reacting to them. We find ourselves to respond when it’s too late. More and more we are having many warning signs yet we do not appear to consciously react to them, much less adopt preventive action.
The first dangerous misconception is about the idea that scientists are still debating whether 'unusual' climatic effects are caused by global warming and global warming is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide into air. Gore argues that actually there are no doubts about this with scientists until the influence of oil and gas corporation lobbies kicks in. To support this argument he makes a quite effective analogy to what happened with tobacco: science knew the effects of smoking yet tobacco lobbies for years and years were able to muddle or obscure this message until it was no longer possible to hide the truth, the “inconvenient truth”.
The second dangerous misconception has to do with the idea that we need to choose between the economy and the environment; in other words if we focus on the environment we are going to damage economic development (Gore points out that this is one of the key causes that brought the US and Australia to be the only leading economic powers not to sign the Kyoto treaty). He argues that this is not actually a choice because, of course, “if we end up with no environment we are going to have no economy” and he points out that “if we do the right things we are going to create wealth and create jobs while taking care of the environment” (to stress this point it’s impressive to realize that US made cars cannot even be sold to China because of their poor emission standards... at the same time Japanese and European car brands, more active and advanced in emission reductions, are growing and expanding globally while US brands are struggling).
Knowledge for Action!
The key and ‘comforting’ aspect to all of this is that we already have the knowledge to reduce emissions and pollution, it is just a matter of awareness and choice to put this knowledge to action. Gore, addressing an US audience, stresses that by far the US is the largest contributor to carbon dioxide on Earth. He points out that to change this is not going to be easy, yet it is part of the history of the US to face and overcome ‘impossible’ challenges; it is therefore in the power and will of US citizens (and citizens of the entire world) to make a difference. He suggests a good point to start is by consulting the information presented in this website www.climatecrisis.net .
After watching this documentary the very least that each one of us should do is to become more familiar with information relevant to the topic and than decide what course of action to take. Inaction could not be an option...
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