Saturday, July 15, 2006

Eberts review on Global Warming film

I was shopping yesterday at the local "Street Fair" in near 100 degree heat. My mother and I took my children into the local beloved Independent Theatre to
cool off. We bought them a pop and sat down and they heard the movie playing behind the theatre doors and of course asked if they could sneak a peek. The lady behind the counter said sure so they ducked in for a few moments. As I've written here, I had already seen the documentary and thought it would be fine. I was surprised however at their reaction when they came back out into the theater lobby. "Can we please go to that Mom?" they asked. Really I said- a 2 hour movie of slides and graphs and scientific data you think you could sit through that? "Yes, we want to" they said. So I complated the value of plunking down another $30 for us all to go (that's a huge chunk in our family budget)
and figured it was a good donation to their education of the issue since they do not get near enough of it in their education and a worth contribution to the cause as well since all the proceeds of the now $15 million dollar gross goes toward Global warming education and felt this would make for good outing on another hundred degree day. Not missing for a moment the irony of the temperature gauge and what was to be another possible record breaking heat index day. And so it is that we took our two children age 8 and 10 to the Al Gore's documentary, an Inconvenient Truth. Purchasing the tickets the woman behind the counter look a bit confused and as she glanced at the kids she asked "IS this for the 1pm movie?" "Inconvenient Truth?" I answered "Oh, okay she said" to such a degree that I had to be reassured "That is showing now isn't it?" "Yes she said- I just, I'm not sure if you want your children to see it" she said. I don't have many pet peeves in life but someone telling me how to be with my children or assuming I'm not being responsible is a big one. If you know me, you'd probably find a great deal of humor in it since I am a bit overboard on how strict I am on certain things and how often I go against the grain of societys view of whats right and not right for our children. But I just smiled and said "Well, I've seen the film already, and they know a great deal about this issue and I'm pretty comfortable with them seeing it" and left it at that.
It felt good to see the film again.
I let the facts and images wash over as I did before. Overwhelmed. But filled with hope. And gratitude. Gratitude for Gore's passion to make this film and deliver this message. Iteared up when Gore said he was doing what he could to get the message out city by city, person by person.... family by family. As I sat close with my most favorite people in the world. My family. And the childrens reaction of what more we can be doing, the pride they felt on what we already do in our home, the maturity in which they handled this film is something I will never forget. They were not filled with fear nor were they dismissive of the graveness of the situation.
I asked my Dad to go with me and he said "I don't like Gore" and it had the opposite effect, it saddened me. How many will not see this message simply because of politics or because of their opinion of the messenger?
Including our own President of the United States.
Please see it. And please speak up now before its too late. Here's a great review from Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun Times. And Dad- as he says in this review-you may have to answer to your Grandchildren as to why you won't see this film.
- Jill

Global warming is real.It is caused by human activity.Mankind and its governments must begin immediate action to halt and reverse it.If we do nothing, in about 10 years the planet may reach a "tipping point" and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization and most of the other species on this planet.
After that point is reached, it would be too late for any action.
These facts are stated by Al Gore in the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Forget he ever ran for office. Consider him a concerned man speaking out on the approaching crisis. "There is no controversy about these facts," he says in the film. "Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero."
He stands on a stage before a vast screen, in front of an audience. The documentary is based on a speech he has been developing for six years, and is supported by dramatic visuals. He shows the famous photograph "Earthrise," taken from space by the first American astronauts. Then he shows a series of later space photographs, clearly indicating that glaciers and lakes are shrinking, snows are melting, shorelines are retreating.
He provides statistics: The 10 warmest years in history were in the last 14 years. Last year South America experienced its first hurricane. Japan and the Pacific are setting records for typhoons. Hurricane Katrina passed over Florida, doubled back over the Gulf, picked up strength from unusually warm Gulf waters, and went from Category 3 to Category 5. There are changes in the Gulf Stream and the jet stream. Cores of polar ice show that carbon dioxide is much, much higher than ever before in a quarter of a million years. It was once thought that such things went in cycles. Gore stands in front of a graph showing the ups and downs of carbon dioxide over the centuries. Yes, there is a cyclical pattern. Then, in recent years, the graph turns up and keeps going up, higher and higher, off the chart.
The primary man-made cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. We are taking energy stored over hundreds of millions of years in the form of coal, gas and oil, and releasing it suddenly. This causes global warming, and there is a pass-along effect. Since glaciers and snow reflect sunlight but sea water absorbs it, the more the ice melts, the more of the sun's energy is retained by the sea.
Gore says that although there is "100 percent agreement" among scientists, a database search of newspaper and magazine articles shows that 57 percent question the fact of global warming, while 43 percent support it. These figures are the result, he says, of a disinformation campaign started in the 1990s by the energy industries to "reposition global warming as a debate." It is the same strategy used for years by the defenders of tobacco. My father was a Luckys smoker who died of lung cancer in 1960, and 20 years later it was still "debatable" that there was a link between smoking and lung cancer. Now we are talking about the death of the future, starting in the lives of those now living.
"The world won't 'end' overnight in 10 years," Gore says. "But a point will have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction."
In England, Sir James Lovelock, the scientist who proposed the Gaia hypothesis (that the planet functions like a living organism), has published a new book saying that in 100 years mankind will be reduced to "a few breeding couples at the Poles." Gore thinks "that's too pessimistic. We can turn this around just as we reversed the hole in the ozone layer. But it takes action right now, and politicians in every nation must have the courage to do what is necessary. It is not a political issue. It is a moral issue."
When I said I was going to a press screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," a friend said, "Al Gore talking about the environment!!" This is not a boring film. The director, Davis Guggenheim, uses words, images and Gore's concise litany of facts to build a film that is fascinating and relentless. In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.
Am I acting as an advocate in this review? Yes, I am. I believe that to be "impartial" and "balanced" on global warming means one must take a position like Gore's. There is no other view that can be defended. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, has said, "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." I hope he takes his job seriously enough to see this film. I think he has a responsibility to do that.
What can we do? Switch to and encourage the development of alternative energy sources: Solar, wind, tidal, and, yes, nuclear. Move quickly toward hybrid and electric cars. Pour money into public transit, and subsidize the fares. Save energy in our houses. I did a funny thing when I came home after seeing "An Inconvenient Truth." I went around the house turning off the lights.

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