Thursday, March 22, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth; A little too convenient?

I take quite an interest in documentary films; I want to make doucumentries when I am done with film school. So when An Inconvenient Truth came out with critical acclaim and later, an Oscar, needless to say, I was interested.For those of you who have been living under a rock, the Documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" follows ex-president-elect Al Gore on his presentations about global warming, and more specifically, global warming as a result of carbon dioxide produced by humans......

"Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced." (official website)


So one night when my parents came to town, we rented and watched the Doc. I can't I was that impressed. Okay, don't get me wrong, I like the green movement. I like idea of trying to keep the world clean and healthy.. these are respectible goals. It can't be bad to cut down on pollutants expelled by the industrialized world... even for resperatory health.... But personally, I had quite a few issues with this documentary....

First off, I felt it was one sided, which I suppose is okay, since they only want to push their point of view, and that's their purogative. But if you want to convince me, you can do a much better job of it if you present both points of view, and try and prove yours is better in comparison.. but maybe that's just me.

Secondly, I was dissapointed that the whole film was basically a long advertisment for how great Al Gore is. I don't dispute he's a great guy necessarily, because maybe he is just that awesome... and maybe he does care about the enviroment as much as this movie portrayed. I just felt the issue deserved more attention than did the man. I felt cheated, and that this was just a tool to further his political career. I do believe that this, was actually the point of the movie, not in fact, to bring the issue of global warming to the public... I have friends however that argue this point, they think that the movie is about global warming. Which is a fair assesment I suppose, and I'm sure that's what they mainly got out of it. It just seems to me that the issue is far too politically charged to be just a environment movie... It definatly makes Al Gore out to be a good guy, which I don't believe was just a happy accident... They went out with the goal of making Al Gore look good, which it did. Also the fact that it won an Oscar. How political is that! They have basically thrown their support behind Al Gore.... they even had him there for the acceptance, and several little interludes in the program.. interesting for the "subject (...or is it co subject?)" of a documentary to be that visible. Okay, any subject might come up for the actual presentation. I'll give you that. But not just any subject would have a little screen time with Leonardo DeCaprio.. I'm just saying is all... So now, at the very least, when anyone, anywhere thinks Al Gore, they think "Hey, isn't that the guy who wants to save the environment?" Now that's some good branding! What does that do if his name does happen to appear on a ballet in the near future?

Thirdly, there was very little actual science presented in the program. There was an ample amount of charts. I can only take so much of charts however. He even had a neat little thing where he used a lift thing to prove his point... when I saw him go all the way up there, man, that convinced me... I mean, did you see how high he was? The thing with charts is that anyone who has been through high school knows how easy it is to prove your point of view with a chart. you just change the size or amounts in the parameters and there you have it, instant credability. That aside even, the whole time we have All talking to us, and he looks trustworthy, but we only have him to go on? He has a friend who does ice sampling... but still we just have his word and charts to go on... That and the fact that who's going to argue? Someone is going to stand up and say that pollution is good? I don't think so... or that it's good maybe? Yeah right... Environmentalism is so quitchy now... You are cool if you are an environmentalist. And if you aren't, you're a pig. simple.

is it?

On too the next documentary..... The Great Global Warming Swindle... ooh... this could get interesting....

This documentary is in direct rebuttle to the previous. It has been creating quite a stir... even the name is rather inflamitory. So let's see what this one's about.

"According to a group of scientists brought together by documentary-maker Martin Durkin, if the planet is heating up, it isn't your fault and there's nothing you can do about it.

We've almost begun to take it for granted that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. But just as the environmental lobby think they've got our attention, a group of naysayers have emerged to slay the whole premise of global warming."
-Official website

Okay, so these guys say the complete opposite or our friend Al... but he had charts... These guys have charts too...

I must say, the main thing this documentary had going for it was the people they included to help make their point credible. It wasn't Tony Blair, Stephen Harper or even Bono (not that he would). They had university professors from several different countries and scientists from several different organizations.

-Paleoclimatologist Professor Ian Clark,

-Nigel Calder, a former editor of New Scientist,

-Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London
-Professor Paul Reiter
Patrick Moore, Co-founder of greenpeace.
These are just a few...

These are scientist, credible and they disagree with the notion proposed be "An Inconvenient Truth"
. It was claimed to be the opinion of 2,500 leading scientists that CO2 is the cause of global warming. Prof Reiter said it included names of scientists who disagreed with the findings and resigned from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Interesting...

I also found it interesting that they pointed out that storms are caused by the meeting of two extremely different temperatures... so if the ice caps do melt and the temperature raises up north, the chance of violent storms would actually go down.... not up.. contrary to the quote earlier on...

And the cause of global warming? well, it's what normally produces heat. The sun. That and clouds.

"Nigel Calder, a former editor of New Scientist, is featured in the programme, and has just released a book claiming that clouds are the real reason behind climate change.

'The Chilling Stars' was written with Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark who published a scientific paper, claiming cosmic rays cause clouds to form, reducing the global temperature. The theory is shown in the programme.

Mr Calder said: "Henrik Svensmark saw that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars - when there are more cosmic rays, there are more clouds.

"However, solar winds bat away many of the cosmic rays and the sun is currently in its most active phase, which would be an explanation for global warming."
-UK News

I'm not going to go over all the theories and rebuttles that are presented in this documentary. That would take too long and there's no point really, since it is in a movie. I just wanted to point out that there was an opposing view and give kudos to those that work against the grain. That, and I believe that this new documentary did more work to actually try and prove their point. Not just go with the popular opinion..

This film had a very conservative point of view. very pro industry and capitalism. Which is neither good nor bad, but like the Al Gore movie, it just shows which side of the issue it comes from. I'm not pro industry per say, nor pro capitalism. But they had more science, better answers and more opinions for my money.

I highly recommend you watch both films and decide for yourself. Personally I did not entirely agree with either film. Both sides have merit, and that's the way all issues are. there is never one clear cut answer.

Go watch them... and tell me what you think... it's an interesting debate.


P.S You have to watch the Documentary "The Future of Food"! It is one of my favorite movies ever! About the plight of agriculture in Canada, North America and the World. Important stuff.


Anonymous said...

You forgot the other hero of the documentary: Al Gore's Macbook. I think it had more screen-time than the melting ice-caps.

Anonymous said...

I heard on the radio two guys talking about al gore, and how his mansion, that he lives in, has like this ridiculously high heating/power bill...I kinda wish I had payed attention to the amount, it would have made this comment a lot better...but he's a hypocrite, I have no evidence, and I need none..uh..The end.

Anonymous said...

well i'm sorry to report that my A.D.D. did not allow me to read this post in its entirety. so thats too bad. also cut al gore some slack, he just want to be as awesome as ralph nader.