‘An Inconvenient Truth’ compelling to view


I go to the movies to relax and unwind from the work week. Turning off the news on the weekend helps, too. So it’s a mystery why I chose a Saturday afternoon to see “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary about global warming.

I still went, even after reading that “An Inconvenient Truth” is presented in a lecture slideshow format. My reasoning: If it became too boring, I could indulge in a rare afternoon snooze in one of those cushy stadium seats. Once the documentary started, however, the idea of sleeping through any of the movie disappeared.

Believing in global warming these days or not is like declaring for which political party one votes. After watching “An Inconvenient Truth,” it’s clear, however, that the issue has nothing to do with political preferences. It is a matter of survival.

Global warming is not about making the world a better, safer place for future generations, either. The time for concern is today, tomorrow and the next 10 years.

Record rainfall is causing flooding in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. South America had its first hurricane last year. Typhoons in Japan and the surrounding area are setting record highs. The snow level on Mt. Kilimanjaro is less than half of what it was in 1932. And the hottest 10 years in recorded history, going back hundreds of millions of years, occurred within the past 14 years.

Waiting until the next decade before starting to change the climatic upheavals is like waiting for the fires in Arizona to extinguish on their own. Acting on global warming now is tantamount to calling in the firefighters to put the blaze out now before it spreads.

Nor can global warming take care of itself, because Mother Nature did not cause the situation ? people are, because extracting and burning stored energy fossil fuels, like oil, and burning them is a primary cause.

Created and developed by Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Truth” is flooded with scientific facts and data about the topics mentioned above. And slightly more than half of the movie is, indeed, in a slideshow format. It’s one of the more fascinating slideshow presentations, because the information you are getting from the graphs and charts is startling. For example, one chart illustrating carbon dioxide cycles in the atmosphere for the past couple of eons has in recent generations gone so high up and broken so many records it isliterally off the charts.

Al Gore presents the information not as a politician but as a concerned citizen. His personal and professional life is, on occasion, a part of the film. He first introduces himself as “the once future president of the United States” before going on to explain why he decided to travel across the country and throughout the world to present the scientific information. Gore’s dedication on the subject matter is stellar. He’s given the lecture and slideshow more than 1,000 times and continues doing so.

His education and concerns for the environment go back to his college professors. The facts and figures he talks about aren’t his, they belong to the scientific community, who gave a five-star rating for accuracy to “An Inconvenient Truth,” as reported in The Times June 30.

I watched the movie, staying wide awake the entire time. Before seeing the film I didn’t know enough about the issue to take sides. Having seen the film, I’m still not ready to say whether it’s a problem or a figment of the imagination. At least I know enough now to tune in and learn more from all sides of the issue.

Giving up my Saturday to learn how cataclysmic events like Katrina happened and will happen again was a smart choice on my part. “An Inconvenient Truth” is a must-see documentary, one that could win a lot of nominations this coming awards season.