Al Gore: Creating a More Convenient Truth
This past weekend I watched Al Gore’s movie titled “An In Convenient Truth.” The movie is very good and I applaud Al Gore’s attempt to bring awareness to the issue of climate change. However, the movie could have been easily improved and I was highly disappointed with the politicization and the lack of emphasis on/direction to action items for movie-goers to help reduce carbon emissions.
Gore starts with an excellent and simple explanation of the science behind climate change and the correlation between carbon emissions and average annual global temperatures. As anyone who has ever written an executive summary knows, it is difficult to explain complex ideas to those who aren’t subject matter experts and Gore does a great job of clearly explaining what climate change is and why it is important. The movie also provides powerful images that hammer home the point that global warming is happening now. The examples of
Yet, when it comes to politics most people are not open-minded and Gore undercuts the power of his examples by politicizing the movie. Politicizing the movie simply gives skeptics more reason to doubt an otherwise tight argument. The most blatant politicization was a segment on the 2000 election where Gore implies that he should have won the election while attempting to paint himself as graciously and stoically conceding defeat despite the films clear implication of a negative environmental impact due to Bush’s. Pointing the finger at Bush, not matter how deservedly, made Gore look bad and certainly won’t convert any of Bush’s supporters. Additionally, linking America's lack of environmental will power to the executive office does not make Gore look good because he had 8 years as VP to push for a stronger environmental agenda. Gore also uses the film to show the strength of his own morality. First he uses his son’s infamous car accident as the turning point in Gore's own rededication to a life of making meaning. Second Gore describes a friend’s death from lung cancer to his father’s decision to stop growing tobacco. Both of these incidents provide an interesting insight into Gore’s humanity but I don’t see what either example has to do with educating the public on climate change and they exacerbated my feelings that the film’s ultimate goal was launching another presidential run. Gore’s argument would have been much more powerful and converted a greater number of skeptics without the politicization.
Furthermore, for those who agree with Gore’s argument, the movie didn’t leave many solid action items. A few suggestions were made while the credits were rolling but at least 50% of the audience at the showing I attended had already left their seats and it just wasn't powerful at all. In fact, I had to take the following list from the movie's website because I couldn't remember exactly was written during the credits.
- Change a Light
- Drive Less
- Recycle More
- Check Your Tires
- Use Less Hot Water
- Avoid Products with lots of Packaging
- Adjust Your Thermostat
- Plant a Tree
- Turn Off Electronic Devices
- Encourage Your Friends to see “An Inconvenient Truth”
“An Inconvenient Truth” is definitely a great movie that I would encourage everyone to see, but it certainly could have made a much greater impact if it were less politicized and spent more time delivering concrete action items for the audience to take.