Saturday, September 29, 2007

“The reliance on fossil fuels has left our atmosphere contaminated by various pollutants, and the earth threatened by global warming. Irresponsible agriculture practices have poisoned groundwater with pesticides and other chemicals while depleting the topsoil. Industrial processes produce thousands of tons of toxic wastes, while nuclear power plants leave behind radioactive waste that will pose potential health hazards for thousands of years.” Our culture, our technology, our environment, our superiority and our curse.
In the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, we are walked through the state of our world and how it is our moral obligation to change some key ways in which we use our technology to save our world. A little daunting, as we will have to modify the way we live, but completely attainable. The thing is, this is not a new revelation. We have been facing environmental issues for a long time.
One example is about 2900 years ago the Polynesians inhabitant of Easter Island. The settlers found the island to have fertile land, a dense and diverse forest and lush grasses. Life was good; they had many children with a population peaking around 6000. Needless to say, “the island could not support this amount of people and it could not regenerate resources fast enough”. The ecosystem was altered so radically, many species died, including most of the settlers, and the land became unsustainable. Another example is the deforestation in the sixteenth century by England. “Vast quantities of wood had been consumed by the demands of an expanding population and the growth of shipbuilding, construction and iron manufacture”. The forests were depleted. So instead of acting responsibly and with conservation in mind, England replaced their renewable resource with a non-renewable resource- coal.
I found “An Inconvenient Truth” to be very powerful; reaching the masses unlike most documentaries that just preach to the choir. And I can see the effect it is having on bringing the environment to the forefront of issues- Al Gore’s senate hearings on global warming, Tim Pawlenty’s extensive bill on renewable energy and the EU acting internally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. But why is this taking so long?
Another aspect of the movie I found interesting was the focused attention on Al Gore and his history with global warming and politics. This portion of the movie made me feel as if there were an ulterior motive – a presidential platform maybe? Thus bringing Gore’s agenda to the forefront, ahead of the environment. I would like to see us humans make a moral decision on global warming without any of the usual suspects (money, politics, agendas) tainting the issue at hand.

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