The 2006 cinematic release of the internationally renown, and somewhat controversial film, An Inconvenient Truth sparked reclaimed interest in the study and understanding of global environmental change. Being an avid enthusiast for all things relating directly to ecological awareness, I commend Al Gore for his decades of investment in both the Senate and White House, where he advocated strongly for a change in how human beings interact with the environment. This film summarized his message clearly and concisely, while continually building upon itself the causal past, present and future circumstances that have and will continue to dictate the natural world.
The message within the movie is clear: change how act and perceive the resources we consume, and we’ll ultimately change the world. Though I respect his objectivity, I don’t feel it’s ever going to happen, especially when political and financial gains are at stake. Specifically, it’s become common knowledge in the decades since the first Earth Day celebration that anything introduced into the realm of environmental change will most likely be controlled by the “convenience of political establishment” and the “self-perception of financial stability” (Tuan, 1973). If the powers at bay don’t feel that a proposed pro-environmental regulation is profitable and/or without political bias, then it will most likely be shot down long before it even reaches its final draft.
This is not to say that Al Gore and his film aren’t on the right track. Following his loss in the 2000 Presidential Election, the former Vice President and Nobel Prize Award winner has been primarily focusing his political career on using his celebrity to educate larger masses, located all over the world, on the seriousness of global environmental change, and how human beings are directly involved. This film, which has shown in 49 countries and grossed a total profit of over $50 million, brought the changes that are being documented within the field of ecology to the forefront (Box Office Mojo, 2008). His point regarding the frog boiling in the pot stands out most significantly because it signifies the behavioral tendencies of human nature, and how we appear to never take action to address a potentially perilous situation until it’s far too late. This example reminded me specifically of the growing population of illegally-owned python snakes that are plaguing the Florida Everglades due to certain people abandoning them in the wild—frequently blaming their size as the primary reason they are unable to continue to take care of them. Since they have no known natural predator in the region, they are free to roam and severely destroy the already sensitive ecosystem, promoting long-term endangerment to the biodiversity of the area (Padgett, 2009).
When all is said and done, An Inconvenient Truth merely provided a platform for the discussions of climate change to be heard outside of the walls of Washington D.C., where far too often political bias and personal interests tend to cloud proper judgment by otherwise upstanding officials. Since the film’s release, there have been both serious environmental issues countered with bolder regulatory infractions, stricter guidelines for fossil fuel consumption and automobile manufacturing in the United States, and the development of more educational programs and services that help instill as sense of environmental awareness within communities all over the country. Are these changes due wholly or in part to Al Gore’s film? Maybe or maybe not, but it’s clear that the message that was expressed over and over has played a role in introducing a young generation’s resiliency to the former political and social norm. The generation that is currently climbing the corporate ladder and working its way through our political organizations have the planet’s welfare, on an international level, at heart. This means that in 25-50 years, when we look back on the points in time that changed human progressive history, it’s safe to say that Al Gore’s “inconvenient truth” may just be listed.
Box Office Mojo. (2008, February 8). An inconvenient truth. Retrieved from http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=inconvenienttruth.htm
Padgett, T. (2009, July 10). Florida wrestles with its pytho problem. Time Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1909404,00.html
Tuan, Y. (1973). Ambiguity in attitudes toward environment. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 63(4), 411-423.
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