Sunday, June 25, 2006

The truth about Al Gore

After several failed attempts, today I finally got an opportunity to go see "An Inconvenient Truth". I have featured the film's trailer before in some of my previous posts, so I won’t do it again, but I urge you to go see this documentary.

It would be useless for me to go over all the information provided by this film, but I want to share with you a few important elements that made an impression on me.

1) In the trailer, there is a moment where Al Gore seems to point to Antarctica and says, “If this were to go … sea level worldwide would go up twenty feet.” What he is actually pointing to is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is 15-20% of Antarctica (See Above). In 2002, to the surprise of my scientists, a large portion of the Larsen Ice Shelf just fell into the sea (Below). I firmly believe that this will be the first of many surprises.

2) The film also discusses the effect global warming has on precipitation and its worldwide dispersion. As the climate heats, rain is highly concentrated in some areas (floods) and denied to others (drought). Midway through the film, a map is shown where the rain will tend to be concentrated, and you start to see all the places that are starting to experience serious flooding. (New Orleans included) Then your eye is drawn to where the rain is slowly being taken away. The largest area is a thick strip right through the center of the African continent.

In 2000, I had a chance to visit Morocco on business. I was able to spend some time in Marrakesh and Casablanca. Even then, one of the main subjects of general conversation was the desertification of the surrounding area. The subject came to my attention again recently when I was reading a blog called ”The View From Fez”. I honestly was shocked by the actual amounts. Due to lack of rainfall there, some 22,000 hectares (55,000 acres) of arable land disappears under the desert every year in Morocco. Abdeladim El Hafi, high commissioner for water and forests there, was once quoted as saying, "Between 90 and 93 percent of Morocco is affected by aridity and other forms of drought.” He blames, among other things, climate change.

3) At one point in the film, Gore makes an analogy to a frog in hot water. If a frog is placed in a pot of hot water, the frog will jump right out, but if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually raise the temperature, the frog will just sit there, not noticing the increasing danger until it's too late.

This is true of human nature as well, and it is applicable to most things. We don’t care about the effects of smoking until we have a respiratory sickness. We don’t care about the calories of the ice cream until we can’t fit into our pants. In this case, the consequence of not looking down the road could have irreversible effects.

4) The last thing I think this film demonstrates is how decent a man Al Gore really is. The film certainly centers on the arguments that support the facts of global warming, but they are alternated with personal facts about the man himself. They add a human element to the film and they show a side of him that is really very important.

I am writing this post to encourage each and every one of you to take the time to see this well made documentary. If I can get ten of you to go, perhaps you will in turn tell ten friends, and then we can make our own little Faberge shampoo commercial.

If you feel, like I do, that Al Gore should run for President of the United States in 2008, perhaps you will want to sign one of the petitions.

I leave you with this. There has only been one very special person who ever knew more about weather than Al Gore.

To read more about this important subject, here is an LA Times article from June 25th, 2006


Blogger dusty said...

I was going to see it Friday but I have a dog that is very sick and possibly dying. I don't mean to bring you down, but its the only reason I didn't rush out and see it when it hit town.I hope to go this coming week, I know I will, I just need a better mindset than I currently have.

I have talked about global warming since I heard Al in the 70's at one of his lectures at the University of Cali at Santa Barbara. People used to look at me like I was wearing a tinfoil hat..they don't anymore. I also saw Al's presentation last year online..MoveOn is a big contributor to his lecture tour. Its a haunting presentation, but he does give us hope at the end..

To see what we as individuals can do to help reduce greenhouse gasses and carbon emmisions..go to so simple the things we as individuals can do..its virtually painless and we have to start now.

I love this post Peter :) You rock dude.

10:41 PM  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

Those are excellent points, Gore's of course, and yours along with his. I am going to see this movie soon, quite possibly this week. Thanks for the reminder, Peter.

It was either this movie or "Over the Hedge." Heh. I still may see that too...

Seriously, people need to WAKE UP. I think most of us live in the clouds... at least i know i do (Pisces thing) but when reality bites like this, i pay attention and i sincerely hope the rest of the world does, too.

Thanks for posting this.

2:01 AM  
Blogger The Lone Beader said...

I am under the impression that Al Gore does not want to run for anything ever again...BTW, I love the maps and photos you include on your blog:)

3:04 AM  
Blogger abi said...

I'd like to see Gore run, too. He seems to have changed since 2000 - meaning has become less stiff and poll-driven and more genuine.

But like tlb says, Gore insists he isn't going to run. If true, then that's the end of that. If it's not true, then he's just being coy, and that tells me he hasn't really changed much at all.

In any event, I think Feingold deserves a shot. Don't know if he has the je ne c'est quoi, tho.

4:23 PM  
Blogger anne altman said...

dusty: boo! sorry to read that.

peter: can't i just know that it's a terrible situation, and not see the flick?

the movie will give me nightmares and what good is that?

i don't throw stuff away because i don't want to fill landfills with it.

i can't see this movie. but i think other people should.

the earth is melting, yo.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Painter Beach Girl said...

I saw the preview when I went to see a chick flick the other day and I have to say, though I wont talk politics or say my view on who I vote for or who I dont, I was impressed by Gore just by previews...this is an important subject, regardless of politics. I get a panic attack just seeing the previews of the horror to our climate and earth.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

Dusty: I am sorry to hear about your dog too. No matter what happens, the dog is lucky to have someone who cares deeply for it and in the end will do what is best. I hope for the best.

Anne: It is more fun to see the movie. Popcorn and Goobers make climate shift easier to handle.

Plus, you are throwing away 9 things a day. Your quest for Feng Shui is going to be the end of us all woman!

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam Peter,
Thanks for providing a link to The View from Fez - appreciate it!



4:34 PM  
Blogger Jody from VegChic said...

I saw this movie a few days ago and posted on my blog telling people to go see it.

To some extent I over simplified some of the concepts, but I like how you brought in some more specific examples from the movie---especially the frog.

It is very important that we encourage everyone we know, to go see it. This is for a two reasons: 1. educate themselves
2. see that we need to push our goverment into doing something about it.

We are so far behind other countries, yet we are the biggest contributer to green house gases and global warming.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

Peace Samir

I hope one day I get a chance to return to Morocco.

11:12 AM  
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