After watching Al Gore’s new documentary feature, “An Inconvenient Sequel”, there were two main thoughts going through my head:
- We have a lot of work to do to reverse the damage we’ve caused to our climate (not to mention we need to act FAST), and
- If Al Gore had been President instead of George W. Bush, this problem (and many others!) would not be nearly as big as it is right now.
But, if we go too deep down the rabbit hole in response to item two, we’ll never get out of it… and I, for one, will just be immobilized by a mix of rage and despair.
So, let’s focus on item one!
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” is the follow-up to Gore’s 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth”, which was a polished, cinematic version of a Keynote presentation that Gore had been traveling around the world giving. It won two Academy Awards. The following year, Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work along with the IPCC.
Gore’s presentation, which he has trained thousands of people to give themselves (including NPI’s founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve) explains what the climate crisis is, how humans caused it, and what we need to do about it.
An Inconvenient Sequel highlights how many things have gotten worse since 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth. There have been more climate-related extreme weather events, and these events have growing more catastrophic in severity and scope. Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years ever on record have transpired since 2001.
A few specific issues examined a little more closely in the film were the melting of glaciers in Greenland and flooding in Miami. Miami is the number one U.S. city at risk due to sea level rise. They are already working on raising some roads, but it is not possible to raise up the entire city up a couple of feet.
We see Gore wading through a Miami street to talk to public officials, then rush back to the hotel where he is about to speak to a room full of people for one of his Climate Reality Leadership Trainings. He takes off his knee-high boots and laments that he thought they would be high enough, but weren’t, as he wrings out his soaked socks and prepares to change out of his also-drenched jeans.
Gore’s first Climate Leadership Training was in 2006 at his family’s barn in Tennessee where he trained fifty people. He now travels around the world, training hundreds of people a year. Last June, Climate Reality came to Bellevue, Washington.
In “An Inconvenient Sequel”, we see some footage from that first training in the barn as well as a more recent training held in the Philippines where some attendees had struggled to survive Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. He even met with a young man to watch video he had of the floodwaters rising as he and his coworkers struggled to break through the roof of their office to get to safety.
As scary as many of the images of flooded city streets, extreme weather events, and melting glaciers are, the film also gives reason for hope, highlighting many of the positive changes that have been made and the great potential we have for future a future that is less reliant on fossil fuels.
For example, globally, wind power could supply forty times the energy demand, and there is more energy emitted from the sun every hour than we need to power the full planet for an entire year — we just need to be harnessing more of this energy.
Some U.S. cities are currently operating on 100% renewable energy or on the verge of doing so, including the right wing bastion of Georgetown, Texas.
In the film, we see Gore visiting the town and talking with its Republican mayor, who notes that converting to renewable energy isn’t just the right thing to do for the environment, but that it will be cheaper for their utility users.
The film also shows how Gore was in fact integral to an agreement being reached at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Without Gore’s helping to broker a deal with India, the final agreement might not have been made.
Unfortunately, the United States now has a president who is stupidly refusing to honor the commitments we made in that agreement.
There really is no good reason not to invest in renewable energy and to move away from fossil fuels. Even if you don’t believe there is a climate crisis, there’s no denying we’d have cleaner air, cleaner water, and cleaner soil. But, as Gore states: “In order to fix the environmental crisis, we first have to fix the democracy crisis.”
As long as most Republicans in office are denying the climate crisis and refusing to make necessary and prudent changes, it will continue to be a struggle to transform our energy policy and emphasize environmental protection as a national priority.
Nancy Shimeall, organizer of the Climate Reality chapter in NPI’s home region, summed up our challenge perfectly when I talked to her: “We can change, and we must change; the big question now is WILL we change before it is too late.”
HOST A HOME SCREENING OF AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL!
Invite friends and family to watch the eye-opening and alarming documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, together. The home viewing kit compliments the documentary’s viewing experience, providing actionable tips and information to reduce our carbon footprint in everyday ways. From grocery picks to home energy efficiency infographics, there are many options each of us control that can add up to larger solutions.