An Inconvenient Truth

on Jan 22 in Essays & Reviews by

Kudos to Al Gore for making an accessible and passionate presentation of what’s happening to our planet and for dropping the petulant, whiny flatness that characterized his campaign for the presidency, but he leaves out one very large fact that is really just too depressing to think about:

The population of the planet earth today is simply too big by an order of hundreds of millions of people to be sustained without the kind of activity that is precisely what is causing an increase in CO2 emissions and worldwide temperatures.

If you think about it for a few minutes, you can’t really escape this. How can 300 million people live in the U.S., or 1Billion in China or 1Billion in India, without machine-processed agriculture, without roads and hospitals, without building products (whether wood or not) processed in giant factories,. all of which takes oil and combustion to run?

It is a moral, not a political issue, Gore says several times as the film follows his dumpy frame in planes and cars around the globe (emitting carbon like a coal furnace), making the presentation to crowds of (mostly) young people, reminding us several times that despite the fact that he did nothing to advance the cause for eight years while VP of the country, he’s known about this and made it a central feature of his career since college.

Will the inconvenient question inside An Inconvenient Truth be asked? What if within fifty years, maybe sooner, much of the ice around Greenland and/or Antarctica melted, and our planet had massive flooding and drought causing the death or dislocation of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of people, and there was nothing really any of us could do about it?

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