An Inconvenient Opinion

Al Gore may turn out to be the best ex-politician since Jimmy Carter. Originally I was glad he wasn’t elected president because I think he’d have wiffled and waffled on the terrorism issue. But now I’m glad he wasn’t elected because I think he can do more good as an environmental crusader than he ever could have done as president.

I saw AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH last night and it really got me thinking. I love documentaries, even ones I heartily disagree with like anything by Michael Moore, but this wasn’t really a documentary in the traditional sense. The bulk of the movie is Gore giving a slide show he’s been giving and developing since the early 70s. There is very little political content in the film, instead he relies on lots and lots of data from studies and surveys from scientific, governmental, and academic institutions.

From the beginning, Gore comes off and passionate and knowledgeable about his chosen topic. He first started researching it in college and has devoted thousands of hours to talking to scientists and politicians and regular people to get the full story on global warming. He has visited both polar ice caps along with the Amazon and countless other sites to see the results in person of the data he has collected.

Viewing this film with an open mind, there is only one conclusion you can come to. Global warming is a crisis and it needs to be dealt with immediately.

I could go back and forth on what Gore says and what conservatives say to refute it but that would just get into political bickering. But the evidence he sited in hundreds and hundreds of cases shows that in the last 10-15 years climate change has so much more drastically than any of the previous “ebbs and flows” of the earth’s warming and cooling.

What I liked most about this movie is that it didn’t use negative scare tactics to make it’s case. In fact, the film has a very positive tone and message. One of the last cases Gore talks about is the hole in the ozone layer. At one point closing that hole seemed like an impossible task. But with worldwide support, we were able to phase out the chemicals that caused the problem and the hole actually began shrinking. Gore best advice is to take this issue on personally. Do what you can to eliminate your own carbon emissions and most importantly, find and support politicians who will support the needed changes.

Most voters pick a candidate on one or two issues. Whether its abortion, taxes, healthcare, the environment or terrorism, a candidates entire platform is rarely considered. Ideally, it would be nice to lobby the candidates we support in both parties pursuant to our social ideals and have them support whatever our stand is on social issues along with making a stand to change the environment. But when it comes down to it, this is a moral issue, not a political issue.

Two examples he cited made the biggest impression on me. Greenland and Antartica are the largest ice deposits in the world and if things continue at their current rate, they will melt completely. If even half of both sites melted it would raise the worldwide sea level by 20 feet. That would wipe out millions of people in every country on the globe. More than terrorism, more than abortion, more than disease.

As a Christian I believe God gave us this earth and we need to take good care of it and use it wisely, as a conservative, I believe it is in our country’s best economical interest to solve this problem. One of the oft cited reasons for not enacting stronger emissions standards is the harmful economic repercussions it would make. Well the largest polluting industry, the auto industry, is in worse shape than its ever been in. The companies that are seeing soaring profits and record success are the foreign companies that have the highest emissions standards.

I encourage everyone, regardless of political leaning to see this movie and draw your own conclusions. Then, if you believe it, spread the word. This won’t be solved by government alone, it will be solved person by person, city by city.

6 thoughts on “An Inconvenient Opinion

  1. Hi Bryon-I was wondering why you see yourself as a conservative? The Christian label I can understand, but what about the conservative message appeals to you. Is it tied to your Christianity or more than that? Just wondering– if you’d care to answer. If not, that’s okay too. You certainly don’t need to defend yourself on your own blog. I just find your passion about this issue at odds with the conservative stance.

  2. I’ve been reading Paul Luebke’s Tarheel Politics 2000 the past week or so, and just for the hell of it, I went to the State Legislative Office Building last week in Raleigh and sat in on a session of the House of Representatives. The thing I’m finding is that in the lives of real politicians and political situations (at least in North Carolina) conservative values and progressive values often entertwine.That’s essentially Luebke’s thesis with regards to many 20th North Carolina politicians. The dominant trend of late is a slant towards traditional social values combined with more progressive economic values in a great many North Carolina politicians.A politician may vote to raise the sales tax and lower the personal income tax in one bill (a typically Democratic stance), but then turn around and vote to lower the state abortion fund from a million to $50,000 in another bill (a typically Republican stance).Attending the State House session has gotten my brain thinking about a good mystery/thriller set in North Carolina involving politics and government. Maybe a North Carolina Pelican Brief…

  3. I know that some conservatives have become more progressive about the environment, but that too seems tied to self-interest: If I’m going to make all this money, there’d better be a place to spend it. I’d love to see some instance of a conservative caring about someone else’s life other than their sexual/reproductive one. The country is being run for about two thousand people from my observations. Still what you report heartens me. Thanks for some hope.

  4. Google Maps (IIRC) has an option to change sea level by several metres. It’s interesting to see it at +7m, which is probably a little extreme (I’m buggered if I can remember the predictions for when I did global warming for my thesis at uni, but I seem to recall them being lower) but that’s ~20ft. Great scads of stuff underwater.

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