A movie you must see

If someone had told me two weeks ago that I would find a movie narrated entirely by Al Gore to be one of the most moving and compelling films I’ve ever seen, I would have thought they were crazy. But having just seen An Inconvenient Truth, an independent film just released into limited distribution, I can testify that this is, indeed, the case.

I wouldn’t say that I was previously a skeptic on global warming, but I have been inclined to listen to the doubters who argue that evidence of worldwide temperature increases are more a function of natural climactic cycles then of human intervention. This film has changed my mind completely. And it does that because it makes its case with a relentless deluge of scientific and evidentiary data that leaves your head spinning. We understand, going into a film like this, that the filmmakers have an agenda. However, there is a big difference between the cogent case presented by a film like Inconvenient Truth and the ideology-driven polemics by filmmakers like Michael Moore (whose work I also enjoy).

Because I write about the media, I will cite one of the scores of statistics presented by this film as being particularly thought-provoking. Gore cites a research study that evaluated the perspective of published articles about global warming in academic journals over a period of several years. The research found that none of the articles fundamentally questioned the premise that the world is getting warmer as a result of human activity. In contrast, a similar study conducted over articles in consumer publications found that about half questioned whether global warming was more theory than fact.

This statistic, alone, highlights the effectiveness of lobbyists and corporate spinmeisters at challenging scientific wisdom. It is a somewhat depressing example of how beholden the mainstream media is to marketing messages. It also shows how impotent the academic community is at getting its messages out in the face of well-funded business competition.

Perhaps there is a persuasive counter-argument to the points put forth in An Inconvenient Truth. Whether or not there are, you owe it to yourself to see this film as soon as possible. While it may not change your view on the global warming issue, it will certainly provoke thought and discussion. BTW, take your kids.

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