An Inconvenient Truth

By Bryan • environment • 2 Mar 2007

I’ve been looking for this particular film in DVD format for sometime, yet have been foiled by the piracy rings, who, not surprisingly, do not stock this video in large quantities.

About a month and a half ago, I found a copy in a nearby store, but as keeping with habits, I choose not to purchase it, instead, sticking to the credence that “I’ll buy it next time”. However, there wasn’t a ‘next time’ and I haven’t found a copy since. The lesson here is that one must purchase DVD’s upon immediate discovery or face the associated consequences. However, f one can’t buy it, well, one can always download it. Personally, I believe that if one happens to live in China (or another relevant piracy hub) there isn’t really an excuse to download films. I’m not purporting that the idea of movie piracy is just and governments should throw in the towel in regards to copyright protection efforts, but when you really only have two options; download or pirate…there really is only one proper choice. You buy the pirate disc…with the justification that someone in the chain gets a little coin. Download and no one receives anything, aside from saving yourself six kuai. Discs are so retardedly cheap that the only real financial burden of the DVD experience is the initial purchase of the DVD player .

Last night I downloaded Al Gore’s Oscar winning mantle, An Inconvenient Truth. It is the first movie I’ve downloaded since the UVic days.

This piece has been out for awhile, but strangely enough, I’ve was slightly hesitant about viewing it. In fact, I’ve been hesitant about viewing any sort of ‘documentary’ since my faith in the genre (and the ability of mankind to look beyond a camera) was so effectively and efficiently destroyed by Michael Moore.

So here I am, discussing an item that I should have mentioned months ago and that I should have viewed months ago. I’m such a lazy ass.

So, this morning I watched it.

Wow…Wow. Probably the simplest word with which I can use to describe this film. I loaded it up expecting a typical post-Bowling for Columbine mudslinging, blame laden, staged right hook followed by a kick in the head at the usual suspects (read: Corporations, George W. Bush, Republicans, Big Oil, Monsanto….blah blah…yawn).

Aside from a few political jokes thrown in for comic relief, the theme of politics was essentially absent. There wasn’t any left-right wing labeling, finger pointing, pretentiousness, holier-than-thou rhetoric, personal attacks, granola-talk or out of this world expectations. This the presentation that the environmental movement should have produced ages ago. It’s something everyone can and should watch. It’s a wool, straw house kumbaya-free viewing experience!

Gore’s theme is just as simple and clear. Human induced climate change is happening, this is an indisputable fact and it is a fact that isn’t going to go away, and it presently isn’t improving. Commonly cited evidence (ice calving, ocean currents, ice cores) is used to solidify the theory and project the consequences (extreme weather patterns, sea level rise, mass human migration, droughts, disease, insect infestation…*the mountain pine beetle was mentioned). Further evidence is used against CC deniers, including a hilarious 50’s era Camel Cigarette advertisement claiming that 50% (or some similar figure) of all doctors smoke Camel Cigarettes, therefore the health effects of cigarettes are not in fact true.

Where the film kicks some serious ass though, is the optimism presented. This is happening, but we can stop it. We fought CFC’s and the ozone problem in the 80’s. It was a global problem, but the will was there, and we triumphed. How is CC any different? Gore’s solution isn’t new, its something that’s been plowed into environmentally concerned individuals for decades. Change lies with you. Don’t think you can’t make a difference. But with this film Gore translates this creed into a format digestable by the masses.

It seems only right that this movie should be downloaded.

*I’m currently engaged in a war on my home electricity usage. I wasn’t too pleased with my last bill, nor the Kwh’s used. This past month I’ve attempted to knock it back by 75%. I’ve been overly aggressive in conservation techniques, but despite that, still haven’t noticed a decrease in my quality of life, or any detrimental affects relative to the previous month. I’ll receive my bill next week, hopefully I’ll meet this goal.

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12 Responses

  1. Daisy

    This time i found i had some difficult reading this article.That’s maybe the problem of my poor vocabulary,and i have to learn more new words from now on.I feel confused with the content.And this feeling makes me discouraging.I just lookde for the > and konw the main idea of the movie,i also care about the environment promblems,and this moive tell the real things happen around us.The temperature of Nanjing is higer and higer than before.When i was a little child i could see very long icicles under the eaves,there were much snow in the winter,and about half of the days’ temperature was under freezing point ,we children could make very large snowman ,but now particular in this year,Nanjing has no snow,nearly no ice,temperature in winter is higer than spring.The swallows feel the changes and many of they come back earlier than before.However,the sudden descrease of the temperature make many of them dead.The whole nature and the human society is facing the huge changes may bring disasters.I am worride about the future of the world.Because the uncommon phenomena last winter,i think this year there will be a disaster.Though i don’t konw what it will be ,flood,drought or insect pest,i konw this year must be a difficult year .

  2. Bryan

    Don’t worry about your vocabulary, I used a lot of colloquial, slang and phrasal language. Not to mention numerous modern cultural references that you probably wouldn’t understand having not lived in North America. No ones fault but mine!

  3. Daisy

    Hehe.That is to say i can learn more phrases that you use in real life.It’s fine.

  4. Hey,Bryan! this is Liam. Have you bought the Pentax DSLR? The Quality of your images seem much better!
    I will not suffer the MSN Space, so this is my new domain: http://liam.8j.cn

    Happy Chinese new year!

  5. Bryan

    Hey Liam,

    Yeah, I bought it last month. It’s not too bad, although the stock lens isn’t very good for low-light photos.

    I see you’ve been busy with your camera! Awesome photos!

  6. Thanks, just a tool to think about everyday life.
    Maybe it could not be ascribed to the stock lens.
    Noise: ascribe to camera(CCD) itself or maybe too high ISO speed have been used. ISO400 is a good choice commonly.
    Unsharpness: Take it easy, it’s general condition. Just ensize the image.
    Been blurry: you need a faster shutter speed. Adjust aperture. Try to use flash in snap shot. And don’t shake you hand~

  7. Bryan

    Aperture is a problem, as I can’t adjust below f3.5 I’d like to have an aperture of f1.0 and then use a faster shutter speed to capture moving items at night without blur. Although, it does a nice job of blurry traffic and a sharp focused object.

    My pentax is quite hardy though, at the top of Huashan, the wind caught it on my tripod when I was checking something in my bag. Didn’t catch it in time :-(

    A little denting on the lens, and the automatic focus no longer works, but can still take shots with manual! Not too bad for a meter fall onto granite.

  8. Joel

    Hey bryan.

    Now that you’ve watched this documentary. Check out this one that the BBC put out earlier this month.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XttV2C6B8pU

    Called, The Great Global Warming Swindle

    I think you’ll find it interesting.

    By the way, as a result of these documentaries, Michael Chriton’s State of Fear, Chrichton’s Essays blog, the blog: A Few Things Illconsidered, and my dad’s work with Desmogblog.com, I have decided to have absolutely no opion on climate science what so ever.

  9. Bryan

    I just watched it.

    Honestly, I’m not that impressed, largely because I feel it bases itself on too many anecdotal interviews which can easily take the speaker out of context (which is what apparently happened). A tad Michael Moorish.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/swindled

    One can argue that a single speaker format (ala Al Gore) isn’t any better, but context is preserved somewhat.

    It’s significant though. I find it interesting that both Gore and this movie make the same accusation that their scientific supporters are muffled and intimidated by those with opposing viewpoints. Who’s correct?

    I haven’t read state of fear but, oddly enough, I remember a quote from Patrick Moore (who appeared in this film) regarding the best thing he had heard about climate change had come from Michael Crichton

    “I am certain there is too much certainty in the world’. And I am certain that he is right.”

    I agree that the human induced climate change is something will probably never be 100 percent proved, however, I’m putting myself in the camp that believes that we, as humans, are changing our planet via our current carbon lifestyles

    The debate aside, in many ways, I feel living sustainably is just a better, more enlightened way of doing things.

  10. Joel

    State of Fear is basically a fictionalized essay in which Crichton compares global warming to eugenics. Rhetoric abounds.

    I really don’t see how any of those interviewees could have been taken out of context though. That one guy was miffed because he was led to believe that it was a balanced documentary rather than an anti-GW piece. Big deal.

    Maybe I’m confused, but to what degree does that discount what he said?

    Also, the CO2 feedback argument to defend the independent variability of CO2 versus dependant variability with respect to its relationship to temperature… it just plain stinks from a pure logic standpoint. It really does.

    It’s like saying that increases in body temperature are caused by perspiration. We know this isn’t true because we understand how our bodies work. We don’t need to interpret a time chart mapping skin temperature versus rate of perspiration; we have the knowledge.

    With climate science, our sole frame of reference is a body of theories. Thus the only way to interpret data is within the context of these theories.

    Unfortunately, the data is really more appropriate for the realm of archeology than science, where “best guesses” rule the day. A true scientific discovery requires statistical inference by comparing test experiment results with control experiment results.

    We don’t have another earth to use as a control group, therefore we can’t conclude anything global-climate related with scientific certainty.

    The problem is that scientists have done just that. And it’s largely due to these ice core records. I’m not mad because I think the scientists have made the wrong conclusion. I’m mad because they have made a conclusion at all. With 100% certainty. Yes, that’s right. Anthropogenic climate change is real. 100 PERCENT FUCKING CERTAIN.

    Here is MY conclusion: as soon as data can reasonably be interpreted in contradictory fashions you have a failed experiment.

    All you are left with is a theory striving for acceptance just like cosmic ether, string theory, donut shaped universes, the sun revolving around the earth, flat earth, living shadows dancing on a cave wall, etc. etc.

    These are all just theories. And theories are just guesses after all.

    (By the way…we do need to talk sustainability one day.)

  11. Bryan

    Can’t talk sustainability dude, I’ve been out of the loop for way to long to put together any solid arguments.

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