23 April 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

I saw this American Academy Award-winner film(An Inconvenient Truth) yesterday on TV. This documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide won him the Nobel Prize. Its amazing how he has connected various disasters around the globe to the common problem of global warming. The flood in Mumbai, hurricane in Florida, droughts in Africa, thinning ice in Tundra region of Alaska - all these are manifestations of the global warming effect.

Indeed, with the mercury soaring this summer and sudden changes in climate, the issue of global warming can no longer be ignored nor can it be resolved in the isolation of a lab. All the countries of the globe will need to make an united and determined attempt to overcome this hazard or we are all doomed.

The upbeat message toward the end where he says that it is better not to jump from acknowledgement of the problem to despair. There is a middle path of actually trying to do something about it. He mentions that humans have managed to overcome hurdles before - they have discovered vaccines for small pox, reached the moon, solved the Ozone layer problem. And with a few precautions, they can alleviate this one too.

Some of the quotes in the film are worth a mention -

Al Gore: [quoting Upton Sinclair] "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Al Gore: Should we prepare for other threats besides terrorists?

Al Gore: I don't really consider this a political issue, I consider it to be a moral issue.

Al Gore: We have everything, save perhaps political will. But in America, I believe political will is a renewable resource.

Al Gore: Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves, "What were our parents thinking? Why didn't they wake up when they had a chance?" We have to hear that question from them, now.

Al Gore: We have here a scale that balances two different things. On one side, we have *gold* bars! Mmmmmm, don't they look good? I'd just like to have some of those gold bars. Mmmmm. On the other side of the scales... um... THE ENTIRE PLANET! Hmmmm...
Al Gore: I think this is a false choice for two reasons: number one, if we don't *have* a planet...
Al Gore: The other reason is that, if we do the *right* thing, then we're gonna create a lot of wealth, and we're gonna create a lot of jobs, because doing the right thing moves us forward."

Al Gore: What we take for granted might not be here for our children.


Shruti said...

Dear Nilu,

I am glad you saw the movie. I take issue however with one of your observations that he strung together events from across the globe to the problem of global warming. Essentially this stringing together of news and observations from all over the world has been going on for quite sometime in the scientific community. People have written great papers and books synthesizing all of this information. I am really glad he made the documentary because his name made people watch it. Most of the world was ignorant of this problem until he brought it forward and carried it to stardom on the strength of his fame and renown. But the perception that he somehow came up with the well coalesced story does not do justice to all those scientists who have been trying very hard to do the same for decades. It is not only you, however. You are voicing an opinion that is shared by the general public. I suppose I should take heart in the fact that people at least started taking global warming seriously and not fret about who got the credit for doing it.


Sandy said...

Hi Nilu -

I liked your article and hope it inspires more people to take up the cause of reducing Global Warming seriously. I have been reading quite a lot on Global Climate Change and contributing in creating awareness in whatever way I can.

Here are few links I would like to share -


Official site of UN on Global Climate Change. It explains the phenomenon in a very lucid manner.


A site and initiative by me called Glecosys (Global EcoSystem). I hope to create awareness by creating simple animations and courses on this topic. Currently there is one course and one animation on the site.


There are couple of articles on my blog on Global climate change and Boiling Frog Syndrome.

I appreciate you writing this article. Keep up the good work!


Ajit said...

hey, just came across your blog.

I am firm believer in "practising what you preach". and Al Gore definately does not come in that category.
His annual household energy consumption is supposed to be 30 times that of the normal american family.

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