ENVT 200 03

An Inconvenient Truth

“An Inconvenient Truth” is a 2006 documentary written by former Vice President Al Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim. The film is centered on the former VP’s life mission to educate the public about environmental issues, namely climate change. Although the film was released over a decade ago, the information and arguments presented by Gore are as relevant today as ever.

The film begins with Gore citing his political background as evidence of his expertise and commitment to the issue of climate change. Gore then begins a discussion on the issue accompanied by a visual presentation consisting of graphical representations of relevant data and vivid imagery of the natural world and the globe. According to Gore, his early educational experiences of science denial are what initially inspired his passion for environmental protection. Unfortunately, although these events transpired several decades in the past, Gore makes the important point that the denial of science and the evidence of the impact of human activity on the earth are still forces that are present and powerful in the modern world.

Gore also touches on the concept of an eco-centric worldview, indicating that climate change is not just an environmental issue, rather, it is a multi-faceted phenomenon with consequences that range from the political, the economic and moral aspects of life on earth. In order to support this argument, the former VP utilizes support from the scientific community, such as data collected on Antarctic ice-coring that clearly demonstrate the rise in CO2 levels in the last 100 years. Gore further investigates the issue of greenhouse gases in a dialogue on the potential breakdown of large ice sheets in the North and South poles. In the event of either collapsing into the sea, ocean water levels could potentially rise by as much as 20 feet. Gore explains that this would not only result in the catastrophic flooding of coastal areas around the entire world, but that millions of people would be displaced from their homes and that the damage to infrastructure would be incalculable, expanding the ramifications from environmental to both political and economic.

The film concludes with Gore’s optimistic assertion that these effects can be reversed with a reduction in emissions and an increase in vegetation. He then makes a plea to his audience to personally involve themselves in the issue of climate change by becoming more informed on the phenomena presented in the film and becoming active politically by contacting their representatives and voting on bills related to the environment and climate change.

Sadly, Al Gore’s film did not motivate the majority of the population to call for a widespread and sweeping change to government policy and business practice, as the effects of greenhouse gas emission are still an increasingly concerning phenomenon. However, Gore did succeed in educating millions about the existence of the issue, and even motivating some to action. “An Inconvenient Truth” is definitely a film I would recommend to anyone looking for a well-done, educational documentary about environmental issues.

3 thoughts on “An Inconvenient Truth

  1. prof.saunders

    While it didn’t motivate the majority like you said, a screening of this film in my undergrad certainly impacted me. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Rachel Skidmore

    I’ve heard great things about this film! I think that films like this, also Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before The Flood, are really important in getting out information. It is definitely frustrating that these films don’t rouse public opinion, but I think they are still necessary, and it’s a good thing that big names like Al Gore and DiCaprio are using their power to get out beneficial information. I really like the name “An Inconvenient Truth” because it calls out so many things about the America. America enjoys convenience. We also enjoy the illusion of American Exceptionalism. Anthropogenic climate change stemming from the way our economy works and the way we make convenient products is indeed an Inconvenient Truth, but one that we need to address nonetheless.

  3. Tim

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been sitting on this movie for over a decade now. It randomly appeared in my parents’ house around the time of it’s release. I have no idea who bought it because my parents are not the documentary type nor do they discuss politics ever. It’s been collecting dust since then. I may have to pick it up during my next trip home. I guess I’ve been avoiding it for so long because I don’t want to feel depressed about the way things are around me. I feel more motivated to watch it now that you mentioned the optimistic message in the end.

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