I didn't bother to see The Inconvenient Truth. I'm prone to be reflexively suspicious of any documentary that's receiving a lot of hype, especially if it features a politician. Nor did I bother to see Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour because I'm prone to be reflexively suspicious of any documentary that's receiving a lot of hype, especially if it features Hollywood personalities.
That said, I long ago embraced the idea of Global Warming-- well before Gore or DiCaprio decided it needed national attention. I lived in Branson during its booming years when they were flattening hills and cutting down trees to make more highways and put up more theaters and hotels. They devastated the very landscape that drew people to the Ozarks, just like they did in Hawaii where my husband grew up (he's fond of singing bars of "They tore down paradise and put up a parking lot" by Joni Mitchell). I said then (and I'm no genius; it was just simple math to me) that there was no way we couldn't avoid the damages it was going to exact upon the environment. And Branson is just an example of the toll our greed has taken. Consider the decimation of the rain forests, our urge to create bodies of water where there weren't and drain bodies of water where we didn't want them. Then add the pollutants we're cranking into atmosphere, which is what everyone generally points at as the cause. And wallah! Houston (and a whole lot of other cities) we have a problem.
My husband, ever the skeptic and always a Republican (but I love him anyway), took a little longer to embrace the idea of global warming. For a while, he bought the party line that it wasn't happening at all. But just a year or so ago, he changed his mind. "Okay, there's global warming, he said. "But we're not causing it. It's cyclical. The earth has always done this." Well, it was at least closer than denial.
I know about the science that says this is simply a phase, that we don't know enough about our climate's history to blame it on ourselves. And I'm sure you've heard the oft reported evidence, Little Ice Age. This had my attention too, until I learned that there's some doubt as to whether the LIA was a global event or not, that it may have only taken place in the Southern Hemisphere, unlike what our planet is experiencing now. It makes less sense to me for the entire earth to suddenly arbitrarily decide to change it's hair-style, than it does to pin a cause to it and since we're the most active, destructive creatures on its surface, it stands to reason that we're the cause. At least that's my take on it, but I'm often assured that I'm not terribly logical by nature and I'm far too much of a bleeding heart (Husbands have many, many useful purposes in life, but they aren't a great choice when it comes to letting someone do your thinking for you).
Earlier this week, I was casting around for a documentary to watch with the boys (I'm trying to ease us back into the cycle of learning so I'm running a lot of these in the background) and I ran across: Everything's Cool. This documentary was a solid take on the history of the topic as well as eye-opening report on our government's role in suppressing the scientific information surrounding the subject. In fact, that second one caught yours truly by surprise. I guess it shouldn't have, but then I'm lately getting a crash course in exactly how self-serving our government has become in just the last thirty years. You'll have to bear with me while I catch up.
The family's response to this show surprised me a little. The boys (God-bless 'em, everyone of 'em is a tree-hugging geek) were entranced. Fifteen minutes into it, my husband wandered in to see what we were up to. He sometimes feels the need to provide the "rest of the story" when I'm offering lessons like this, which is fine. I suppose a counter-point isn't all bad. But this time, he asked if we could start it over. I braced myself for a background litany of disparaging comments.
But they didn't come. He listened without a word, only asking to back up and hear certain sections again when he had to leave the room. In the end, the kids made various comments about the subject, we had a discussion about the scientists who made the most sense to us and the government's role in trying to bury the subject.
Gary was quiet for a long time. He went off to the computer and did a search on the various names in the movie, but he still didn't say anything. In fact, other than commenting that it was one of the most engaging documentaries he'd seen in a long time, I haven't heard another word from him. So maybe he's rethinking his stand, I dunno.
Regardless, this is a well done documentary and one I'd highly recommend if you're interested in an entertaining, but less glamorous or political take on the subject of global warming.
Meanwhile, I found the following video on John Cusack's blog this morning. Our current energy crisis is being handled with our government's usual skill and efficiency. What's more the newest candidates are demonstrating a pretty poor grasp of the actual problems we're facing. You know how they say that the higher you climb into atmosphere the less oxygen there is. Reduced Oxygen produces poor brain function. Maybe this is true for those in government too. The more time our candidates spend in Washington, the less they seem to think for themselves. Or think at all. Perhaps we should send them oxygen tanks. I'm with Dennis Bryant on this one (BTW, you should visit Dennis' blog). Vote 'em all out and don't replace 'em. No incumbents, none of the time.