Sunday, January 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth: A Commentary

Note : An Inconvenient Truth is a film documenting the environmental campaigns of the former presidential candidate of the 2000 U.S. Election, Al Gore. Most of the movie shows him giving a slideshow on the dangers and threats of global warming.

Simply said, after watching this movie, I became a newborn environmentalist.

It is simply appalling how ignorant I could have been. But there are, you see, moments of epiphanies and truths that open your eyes and realized that simply, you have been mistaken. I had decided long ago to never hold my decisions and perceptions in the past against me since it will not do me any good but instead only leave me with guilt; but again, I was mistaken. I did not realize that this guilt is so paramount in giving me the ability, the motivation, and basic sense of responsibility to change and develop and to learn from those mistakes.

In the movie, Al Gore quoted Churchill when the late prime minister was explaining his irritation to the British citizens on their ignorance and lackadaisical reaction to his warning of an unprecedented storm about to hit the nation. Churchill said that we are passed the age of procrastination and have entered the period of consequences.

The damage is done. I am left with the tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, diseases, and the rest of the remains of the apocalyptical warnings previewed in the Book of Revelation. This movie is more terrifying than if there was a movie written by both Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King, directed by Tim Burton, and starred by Bela Lugosi and the woman who played Sadako in the Ring. It is pure, unadulterated horror like something that would haunt me for years to come.

It hit me when Gore said, “our ability to live is what is at stake.” And then he showed us a picture of the universe taken by the Galileo a few years ago, and the Earth is just this tiny little dot, a speck of light amidst a huge void, a white pixel on a screen of dark colors. And he said, “(earth) is our only home”. At first it might sound cliché to you, but ultimately, we have to admit it, we have nowhere else to go.

But there is no way I can make anyone understand the amount of understanding that I have gained from watching the movie, I mean, if you are a skeptic and you are reading this, you would probably just think that I am temporarily disillusioned. But take a challenge and watch the movie. If you don’t get the point of the movie, never mind, it’s just another movie, but if you do get the point of the movie and become as startled as I have, then it will be a rare eye-opener. But in any case, you have to experience it for yourself to understand it. So just watch the movie. And watch it till the end or you will miss the point.

I am glad I learned about this ‘inconvenient truth’ happening around me now, and not later. It’s always better to find out about things sooner, rather than later. And people can change their perception. You might think that there are two kinds of people: people who care about the environment (them tree-hugging hippies) and people who care about themselves (normal people). But the problem about this idea, and the paradox inherent in it neglected by so many is that caring for ourselves is exactly the same thing as caring for the environment.

And what is scary is that for many people, in order to realize this, something bad has to happen to them first (that is why there are eco-terrorists). For instance, I used to think that animals are simply that, animals; they have no brains and feelings and hence it is ridiculous to protect and help them. I used to think of the term ‘animal rights’ as an amusing oxymoron. But everything changed after I had to adopt my late uncle’s dog and cared for it. Last week when she died, I can’t help but cry. If someone had told me a few years ago that I will actually shed a tear for an animal, I would have laughed at his face.

But that’s just it, isn’t it? Regret always comes last.

In the end, An Inconvenient Truth serves as a much-needed reminder to humanity that the earth is starting to grow wary of our nonsense. We need, like that frog in the movie who did not realize that he is sitting inside a gradually boiling container, to be rescued. But this time around, the salvation must come from ourselves.