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An Inconvenient Truth

A Global Warning!
An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former US Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming. He attempts to convince people that global warming is an immediate, dire and still fixable problem. Whatever you may believe the causes of global warming are, he insists that you acknowledge its existence.

Movie review by Rohit C. DSouza [MIM-10-04]

An Inconvenient Truth
Al Gore's global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, aims to call attention to the dangers society faces from climate change, and suggests urgent actions that need to be undertaken immediately. It is based on a slide show on climate that Gore proclaims to have presented to audiences worldwide over 1000 times in the past 15 years. Throughout the movie, Gore discusses the scientific opinion on climate change, as well as the present and future effects of global warming. He stresses that climate change is really not a political issue so much as a moral one describing the consequences he believes global climate change will produce if the amount of human-generated Greenhouse Gases (GHG) is not significantly reduced in the very near future.

Global Warming 101

Global warming is generally understood as a rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere, oceans and landmasses of the earth. Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]

Solar energy enters the earth in the form of UV rays and heats up the earth. Part of that energy is used to warm the earth and the balance is radiated back into space as infrared waves. Under normal circumstances a portion of the outgoing infrared radiation is naturally trapped by the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps the temperature on earth at a comfortable level. Now, we humans have created a problem for ourselves by releasing huge amounts of CO2 and other Greenhouse gases (GHGs) which has thickened this atmospheric layer. As a consequence a lot of the infrared radiation that would otherwise escape the atmosphere is getting trapped by this thickened layer. Consequently, the earths temperature keeps increasing and the earth is getting dangerously warmer day by day. Just to draw a paradigm, the thick layer of GHG on Venus makes its temperature unbearable, while the absence of GHGs on Mars makes the temperatures thereon icy cold.

The major contributor of GHGs (Greenhouse Gases)


1. CO2 (Carbon dioxide gas) 2. CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) 3. CH4 (Methane gas) 4. SOx (SO2 and SO3) 5. NOx (NO2 and NO3) 6. H2O (Water vapor)

GHGs such as CO2 and the earths temperature are directly related to each other. As the level of CO2 increases in the atmosphere so does the earths temperature.

The impact of Global Warming


1. Melting of glaciers 2. Rise in sea level 3. Coastal line will be soon submerged under water 4. Flooding conditions around the world 5. Longer summer seasons leading to a drastic increase in temperature

Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]

Coming back to the movie An Inconvenient Truth, apart from it being an eye opener by the time it ends, is also a film made with a lot of care. Just by looking at Al Gore throughout the entire screenplay, one notices the flawlessness with which he talks about the issues of rising CO2 levels and the state of the earth at the time of the last Ice Age. The known fact that students have learnt in school, about the temperature rising and the melting of the polar ice caps, resulting in a rise in sea level, which eventually drowns low lying areas, and the like; is all true. A particular sequence in the film shows us Al Gore commenting on satellite images of various low lying areas of the world the San Francisco Bay, the area around the rivers of Japan, the Bay of Bengal to point out a few. The images that follow show us the state these places will be in in less than 50 years time given the continuation of dumping CO2 into the atmosphere at the present rate. The images are shocking, showing us the displacement of over 100million people all over the world. And that, speaking for itself, happens to be just the beginning.

Personally I believe that the movie beats any blood and gore thriller film when it comes to chills. The photographs of places on earth taken now and decades ago shock you beyond belief. The change the earth has gone through in the last 50 years is more than the change it went through in the previous 1000. That itself is fact enough to make anyone realize the need for change, and the time at which the chance to act is running out. Whats commendable about the film's narrative is that Al Gore explains the entire progress of global warming from its conception to its consequences and its impact; almost in layman's terms. More often than not he uses cartoons to explain the situation and bring it to life. This technique not only adds as a comic relief, but it also acts as a more effective explanatory technique ending with the realization of something dire. Making the truth all the more difficult to handle. It is a contrast that he uses to full effect.

Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]

Let us not forget that the movie also shares with us the life of Al Gore. One gets a very warm feeling listening to his story, right from the start, from where he lived, to how he grew up, and all for the purpose of showing us how much he wants us to care for his initiative, how much he wants to see this world care about itself. It's very easily noticeable, how much effort the man himself has put into this project. The fact that the entire team has dedicated their heart and soul to this cause is evident from the film. This is not a film. This is a lesson. A lesson about the wrongs we have done to our planet and the consequences we must face unless we rectify them. A lesson that everyone on the face of the earth should learn to see what Mother earth is going through at the cost of our progress. It is time to face the music.

Al Gore undoubtedly is making a difference and if he uses political tactics to do so then it is only as a result of his profession. He did go for presidency and was ousted by a cretin. Perhaps this validates his honesty a little. Gore is a good spokesperson and captivates his audience. He knows how to get the message across. I feel that those who oppose are imbeciles and should wake up!

The documentary ends with Gore arguing that if appropriate actions are taken soon enough, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less CO2 and planting more vegetation to consume existing CO2. Gore calls upon his viewers to learn how they can help him in these efforts. He concludes his documentary in the words Each one of us is a cause of global warming, but each one of us can make choices to change that with the things we buy, the electricity we use, the cars we drive; we can make choices to bring our individual carbon emissions to zero. The solutions are in our hands, we just have to have the determination to make it happen. We have everything that we need to reduce carbon emissions, everything but political will. But in America, the will to act is a renewable resource.

Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]

Keeping the Blue planet Green!


Here are a few ways we can help combat Global Warming:

Change a light Replacing 6 regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs will save 400kg of CO2 a year.

Drive less Walk, bike and carpool or take public transport more often. Youll save 1.5kg CO2 for every 5km you dont drive.

Recycle more You can save 1000kg of CO2 per year by just recycling half of your household wastes.

Check your tyres Keeping your tyres inflated properly can improve your cars fuel efficiency. Every litre of petrol saved keeps 2.5kg of CO2out of the atmosphere. Use less hot water It takes a lot of energy to heat water so use less hot water by installing an energy efficient triple A rated showerhead (3 tonnes of CO2 saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (255kg CO2 saved per year).

Avoid products with a lot of packaging You can save 545kg of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10%.

Plant a tree A single tree will absorb 1 tonne of CO2 over its lifetime.

Turn off electronic devices Simply turning off your TV, DVD player, stereo, computer when youre not using them will save you thousands of kilograms of CO2 a year.

Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]

Conclusion
My thought is that if a popular personality is well aware of the repercussions that a lack of concern toward the environment could have, then we need to understand this and do something about it in our own little way. In my small way for instance I plan to convert my car from petrol to CNG. Though the initial outlay is a considerable amount of close to Rs. 35,000 the on road expenses roll down to a meagre Rs. 1 per km. Thus this is a huge saver on the pocket as well, not to mention the benefit it will have on society. In India itself we can significantly cut down on vehicular emissions if the government adopts a stringent and robust vehicle inspection-and-maintenance (I&M) programme, says a recent study by consultancy firm AT Kearney in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry. A clear cut I&M regime along with structured recycling programs, and organized fleet-modernization drives can lead to 13-18 million tonne of CO2 abatement, about 0.5 million-tonne reduction of combined HC, NOx, and CO emissions, and 10-15 million kg reduction of PM emissions, estimated the report. (Ref: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/global-warming/india-can-cut-vehicularemission-through-robust-inspection-and-maintenance-of-on-road-vehiclesstudy/articleshow/18863389.cms) Likewise if all of us can take such initiatives to keeping the blue planet green, we will see a better and brighter future ahead of us.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Inconvenient_Truth http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497116/

Rohit C. DSouza [rohitchrisdsouza87@gmail.com]