I finally got around to seeing An Inconvenient Truth. In terms of its educational value for letting us know exactly where thing are at with Climate Change, this movie is brilliant. Al Gore attacks us with the PowerPoint from hell: charts, graphs and images depicting the sad state that we have gotten our planet into.
Gore spends some time rebutting the claims of those who say that the data is contested or that the scientific community is split. In particular, a survey of thousands of scientific articles in peer reviewed journals was performed, out of which a grand total of zero scientists dissented from assertions of climate change. However, in the popular press, some 53% of articles dealing with climate change presented the supposed dilemma of the split in the scientific community. Lobbying money well spent by Big Oil!
But towards the end, I got annoyed. When the film starts to move into life application, things get wishy-washy. You can see the kind of stuff they advocate at their site to take action, you get an idea of what is (briefly) mentioned in the film. The problem here is that everything that is suggested, from wrapping a blanket around your hot water heater, to taking mass transit where available, to using CFL light bulbs (all good things in and of themselves), are merely band-aid solutions when major surgery is needed. Simply tweaking the current system to be a bit more efficient is going to prove nothing. The serious problem is that we have become completely dependent on oil energy for the fundamental necessities of life. Let’s look at the big three: food, clothing and shelter.
Most of our food comes from anywhere but where we live, moved across vast distances by the power of oil. And produced in mass quantities using oil power. Do we have any plans to change the way we grow and consume our food? If not, then climate change is a-coming.
Made in China, sold at Wal-Mart. Brought to you across the sea and down the highway by the power of oil. Does our plan for climate change include a way to provide our clothing locally? Well, I guess if it gets hot enough we can all frolic in the nude…
And here’s the big one: we have increasingly tied our way of life to a living arrangement that has no future. What good is it to try to make your home more energy efficient when it’s in the suburbs? The suburban plan mitigates against mass transit, demands its citizens to drive for the most menial of errands, continues to build bigger McMansions that are going to cost a buttload to heat and cool no matter how well you insulate them, and… the list could go on and on. The entire infrastructure of the suburbs is unsustainable and harmful to the environment.
But maybe God has built a release valve into the whole thing. Since we’ve probably moved past the oil peak, we’re simply not going to be capable of polluting like we are now. Although that will bring its own difficulties–how do you rebuild an entire national infrastructure for everyday life?–at least we’ll hopefully be forced onto the right path. Hopefully.
But for those of us who don’t need to be forced, let us pray and work for a different kind of life. The life of God’s kingdom here on earth. Let us live it and bring it. Help us and have mercy on us, oh God.