An Inconvenient Truth | Notes & Review

Posted on April 11, 2009

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An Inconvenient Truth. Paramount Classics, 2006.

National Geographic article.
Washington Post fact-checker and Pinocchio test.

inconvenient_truth

Several months ago, I found myself in a fairly heated (no pun intended) discussion with a family member who believes the earth is only 6 – 10,000 years old, that oil is a renewable resource, and that global warming is either a natural cycle of planetary flux, or an outright hoax.

He pressed me for my position.

Long story short, I explained that I would likely classify myself as a “Biblical Environmentalist.” That is to say, ‘I am not a scientist, and thus do not feel educated enough to make conclusive judgments as to whether or not what is being reported means all the implications that many are suggesting. I can and ought to, however, care for the world as Genesis 2:15 exhorts us, in spite of whatever scientists may say.’ That leads me towards recycling, reducing my carbon footprint, conserving energy (and therefore money), etc. And, I also took time out of my day to actually watch “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Briefly, the movie was well done, seemed to include solid reporting, was a bit on the emotionally coercive side (though expected in a film like this), but made its case well. Perhaps the most poignant part of the film was the clarion call to our nation that we can rally together to solve this crisis, a challenge and vision that is empowering and inspiring, and one that I applaud.

Now, I am skeptical of media productions (e.g. “docu-dramas” and “edutainment”) as often times the goals of good communication get skewed by the producers’ biases, and the medium of the production. And, given that a “politician” is the face of the movement, it can make things even more sketchy. The issue is obviously highly-emotional, and deeply controversial. It doesn’t help the fact that often times those who are skeptical and latent in believing anything about global warming often times turn out to be in the auto and oil industries, and those who are “sold out” to global warming are trying to capitalize on the new “alternative” energy markets such as wind and solar.

However, I also went to the IPCC webpage, and read a few summaries. I’ve also listened intently to popular articles and reporters. It does appear, that the evidence weighs heavily in affirmation of global warming. Now, I am still of the “I don’t know” category. But all this leaves me betting on a kind of “Pascal’s wager” when it comes to the issue. If the reports are wrong, and we heed their advice, we’ve lost nothing. However, if the reports are right, and we ignore, we lose big time.

So, I’m sticking to my position of “Biblical Environmentalism,” from Genesis, to care deeply for the world around us, and to not commodify, commercialize, or command the world to our bidding. We must become stewards, once again, and good ones at that. And whether or not the film’s projections are accurate, we ought to be lovers and adherents to “truth,” no matter what adjectives come before it.

Some quotes I appreciated:

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”- Upton Sinclair

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

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