Sunday, February 10, 2008

It Wasn't Al Gore Who Showed Me the Truth...

Even after seeing "An Inconvenient Truth" last night and looking over a few articles on the movie, I'm still not sure what to think about Al Gore and his message. I believe the movie may have had a significant effect on my feelings about global warming/climate change if I had seen it before taking Dr. Webber's class. Dr. Webber's last two concise, science-based lectures went a very long way in changing my feelings on climate change. Until the last lecture I felt fairly sure that most climate change believers were either alarmists who wanted a new cause to occupy their time or celebrities who needed a new way to get attention. I have felt for a long time that we are/were seriously polluting the earth, affecting our health, but not necessarily causing/going to cause climate change and its dramatic effects. Now I have different feelings on climate change but my feelings have hardly changed regarding reasons most people have for bringing climate change to the attention of the general public.

After watching the film I feel that Al Gore may have some sincere interest in this problem and a genuine interest in changing the attitude of the public on this topic (rather than solely using this as a publicity stunt). The major reason for my feelings of anger and annoyance at many of the climate change believers -- for example (I'll get to my attitude toward the celebrity spokes-persons soon) -- is their insistence on showing pictures/footage of once beautiful landscapes that have been destroyed and their citing of temperature changes rather than clear correlation of the destroyed land and the temperature changes, showing that the temperature changes are predominantly caused by human actions. Again, Dr. Webber gave me what I have needed to change my mind.

I still have mostly the same feeling towards Al Gore -- I do feel more warmly towards him after watching the movie -- but I also realize that people will go to great lengths for money, which he has made a great deal of in speaking engagements since the film (though, yes he did make a lot before as well). I don't think my skepticism of the sincerity of any celebrity/politician will be easily changed. And his winning half of the Nobel Prize while a whole (large) group of scientists shares the other half has certainly not helped. This led me to seriously doubt the judgment of the committee who made this decision and lead me to feel (albeit temporarily and somewhat irrationally!) that maybe climate change is a conspiracy.......

Al Gored showed me what I already knew, we really need to make changes soon in how we live if for no other reason than to have a world that we can enjoy living in. I feel this is something that can unite people with a wide range of feelings on climate change. We need a world where we have clean air to breathe, the chance to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and a variety of wildlife to amaze us. For all the money and convenience our reliance on fossil fuels has brought, I simply cannot comprehend how it can be worth the human cost which is so great.

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