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7/02/2006 05:35:00 PM | Nathan Empsall

Most Important Movie Of Our Time

I'm not sure I've ever seen a documentary I would call "important" before. I was not a fan of "Fahrenheit 9/11", and while I loved "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room", I found it informative and powerful, but not important. PBS' Frontline has had two very excellent features on Iraq, but again, it's informative and powerful, not important. But yesterday afternoon, I saw a movie that I would not only call mandatory viewing for all Americans, but also the Most Important Movie of Our Generation (yes, it deserves capital letters). And I BEG you to see it as soon as you possible can. This isn't about politics, it's about our very lives.

The movie was "An Inconvenient Truth." It's Al Gore's look at the impending climate crisis, but trust me, it was not political. It focused entirely on the issue of global warming, and let me tell you, friends, never before have we faced a disaster of such epic proportions. If we allow our CO2 emissions to continue as they are now (and they are actually likely to rise), we will be faced with millions dead and hundreds millions more displaced, from Miami to Shanghai. This is not a liberal issue, or a conservative one. Please don't think of it as such. It is not even, as Mr. Gore says, a political issue, but a moral one. We must not allow our nation, our neighbors, or our companies to harm God's children this way.

There is no controversy or debate: global warming is happening, and at unprecedented levels. There have been 928 scientific peer-reviewed journals on the subject, and of those 928, 928 said that global warming is happening. 53 percent of media reports suggest there is doubt about the issue, but that's because the media tries hard to avoid appearances of bias. I don’t know why this cause is seen as liberal, but it is. And As Bob Edwards says, the media goes beyond trying to balance opinions, and inadvertently often bring on liars to balance the truth. 53 percent of the media suggests global warming may not be happening, but 0 percent of the scientists say it.
Gore's movie showed us proof. It's an adaptation of a slide show he's been giving for decades on the subject (which he updates all the time), but it's actually not boring. The slide show itself comes across as an engaging lesson, not a slide show. I have many problems with Gore as a politician, but as a person, when he casts his handlers and podium aside, he's great. In "An Inconvenient Truth," he takes the very scientific issue of global warming and explains it in such a way that even I can understand it. He even uses a clip from "Futurama" to help him explain it! Then, he presents evidence of it happening. Yes, our planet's climate has always risen and fallen, but we are far beyond the typical range of the past 650,000 years. Temperature and CO2 levels match exactly, and our CO2 levels are far, FAR beyond what they have ever been before. The effects are already happening. Gore shows pictures of glaciers, lakes, and parks around the world from 50 years ago, and shows those same spots today. Glaciers have shrunk by 80 percent in some places. Mt. Kilimanjaro, once an icon of snow, is expected to have no snow within a decade. Ice shelves in Antarctica are breaking and disappearing. The Arctic Ocean may soon have no ice whatsoever during summers. Greenland is also in danger of melting - and remember, this isn't a former Vice President's rant. It's the hard facts and data from the scientists who study this. On our current course, Greenland and the western coast of Antarctica are both likely to melt, and either one would raise the sea level 20 feet. All the real experts concur. All 10 of the earth's hottest years occurred in the last 14 years. Katrina and Rita weren't the only rough storms - it was the stormiest year on record in the South Atlantic and the Pacific, as well. And 2004 was the second stormiest. Think of the disasters we’ve seen and the unnecessary destruction they wrought on God’s children – Katrina, Rita, the tsunami, South America’s first ever hurricane, the three big New England storms. These are the early stages of global warming, folks, and it only gets worse.

We cannot let this happen. We must take care of our environment, for in protecting our environment, we protect ourselves, our families, and our friends. If we ignore global warming now, we will see a disaster like this species has never seen before - beyond World War II, beyond the tsunami. If Gore runs for President in '08, and I really don't think he will, I'll vote for him in the primaries and the general. I usually don't like him as a politician, but all of the other issues are petty compared to this one. We can fix wars and poverty and discourse and the breakdown of the family, but it will all happen again and more if global warming occurs. The African water wars will only increase. Shanghai, Beijing, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, parts of New York, and more will be forced to evacuate. And to all the folks who say it would harm our economy to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, or to take other measures - you think it's gonna be cheap, either emotionally or fiscally, to deal with all the death and refugees rising sea levels would cause?

Please, please, PLEASE see this movie. And once you do, encourage folks you know to see it. This is not Al Gore; it’s mandatory crisis prevention. This is not an issue that can wait until our generation is in politics. By then, what little window we have to act will be gone, if it isn't already. We have no choice - we must act NOW if we want to save our planet, and the hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, who this issue will affect. There are things you as an individual can do, and there are things we as a society can do together. So let’s get our acts together and do them before it’s too late.



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