06 February 2012

Save the Planet: Al Gore Reveals the Inconvenient Truth


Title: An Inconvenient Truth
Type: Documentary
Focus: Save the Planet
Year: 2006
Length: 1 hour 36 minutes
Host: Al Gore
Producers: Laurie David, Lawrence Bender & Scott Z. Burns
Association with: Paramount Classics
Directors: Davis Guggenheim

l Gore, the former Vice President of the United States urges fellow Americans (and the whole world) to save the planet. He seems sincere but regardless of his motives, I do subscribe to his points of view. This documentary opened my eyes. Yours should be as well. It is so far, I think, the best short documentary I've watched with respect to saving our planet Earth. Highly recommended. Now, what can I share with you? I wouldn't want to spoil the documentary for those who haven't seen it. So, I'll keep it simple by just sharing salient points enough to pursuade you to buy this DVD from Amazon and embrace love for planet Earth!. Here goes (my first documentary review):

"This (global warming) is not a political issue. This is a moral issue. If not addressed, it is deeply unethical!"
Quotation by Al Gore in 2006

Let us start with the atmosphere. It is thickening because of the pollution. The heat from the sun via its infra red rays cannot escape the atmosphere when it is too thick. The heat gets trapped and accumulates surrounding Earth. This is what we call Green House Effect - the mechanism of global warming. How does the thickening happen? Well, naturally, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gets absorbed by plants in their food-creation process. You take away those plants, you take away the primary cleaner for CO2.

In autumn/winter, as we know it, there are not much leaves to absorb CO2 and vice versa for spring/summer. With that you can aspect that the level of CO2 during autumn/winter to rise and subsequently reduce - a yearly trend causing yoyo over the years. This is natural. One would aspect that if a hemisphere is experiencing a particular season, the opposite hemisphere should have the opposite season, negating the CO2 yoyo. That is only true if the land mass between northern and southern hemispheres are the same (... and we know they are not). What worries us is that, if that yoyo over the years forms an upward trend, it means heat is rising. The graph above shows that we ought to be worried. This is supported by scientists' study of trapped air burried in ice for the last one thousand years - i.e. rising heat in correlation with rising CO2.

Al Gore said "This (global warming) is not a political issue. This is a moral issue. If not addressed, it is deeply unethical!" Little do we realise that the global warming has significant negative consequences to us all. Heat level rising causes increase in wind velocity. True enough we do now see stronger hurricanes such as Katrina back on 29 August 2005. The number of storms has increased from 27 in 1975 to 93 in 2004 (USA only). Similarly, big floods have increased from 25 in 1960 to 100 in 2000. We have also noticed that the thickness of the ice in the North Pole has decreased by 40% in the past 40 years. The Arctic ice cap sea-ice extent has dropped by 1.5 million km2 since 1970. With that rate, by 2050 it would be fully melted! Polar bears will drown themselves in search of land (which is the case already in some areas).

We discussed about heat level, ice level, storms, floods, wind, etc. There are also bio-habitatual effects. Changes in climate cause disruption to the natural ecology of the animal kingdom. Scientists in Netherlands studied the seasons for bird reproduction. In 1980 they recorded that the birds hatched in June coinciding with the hatching of caterpillars. As a result of the shift of the world climate, caterpillars seem to hatch earlier in April (2000 study), depriving those chicks of their natural food source. There are many more examples that are devastating. Heat rise improves survival rate of microrganism, increasing the number of new diseases. Both deprivation of food and introduction of new diseases are the recipe for extinction for some animals. One other impact worth mentioning is the bleaching of corals. A sad case really. I have covered this in my earlier blog Coral Armageddon: A Field of Skeleton

This deteriorating health of planet Earth is/will be further compounded by human race's demand for more resources. The population is rising tremendously causing increase in consumption of food, oil and gas, water, tree-cutting, and many more. With the technological advancement of medical sciences and less wars, human race has multiplied itself from a 2.3 billion count in 1945 (just prior to World War 2) to 7.0 billion in 2011. With that rate, we will reach 9.1 billion by 2050. It is interesting to note that the human population was somewhat controlled at sustainable rate for thousands of years (at least from 5,000BC) and suddenly saw an event-turning numbers of significant increase just over the last 66 years (1945 - 2011).

CO2 level is at the top of the list nowadays with the introduction of Kyoto Protocol. Our (humans) attemp to control carbon emmission is noble but many have not yet embrace this. If, as mentioned earlier, significant disasters flooding our lives just in the space of 50 to 100 years, we then do not have enough time. We must rectify in the immediate 50 to 100 years. Back to carbon emmission, who is the biggest culprit of all? Well, surprise, surprise,... the United States of America ranks #1 at 30% contribution to the world carbon emmission of 5.47 billion metric tonnes. China comes second, then Europe, Russia and Japan.

What do we need to do? We should reduce the use of oil and gas and increase the use of electricity that is more efficient. We need renewable energy - the likes of hydro. If this is to be the main driver to reduce carbon emmission and thus, help address global warming, we need the political will to enforce it. Do we have the political will? Politicians have a lot to lose when they derive significant income from oil producing ventures. Kyoto Protocol must be taken seriously. At the time this documentary was made, only 2 nations have not yet ratified their support for the protocol - Australia and the U.S.A. I hope by now they have.

We need to do this collectively as human race. After all, we have not yet found another planet that can replace Earth. Are you ready? To change the way we live. The climate crisis can be solved. At least visit www.climatecrisis.net. At the end of the documentary, the following message was shared. If you love planet Earth, spread this message around. Save the Planet. Save our Planet. Save Earth. Save humanity. God bless.

You can reduce your carbon emmission to zero. Buy energy efficient appliances + lightbulbs. Change your thermostat (use clock thermostats). To reduce energy for heating + cooling, weatherise your house, increase insullation, get an energy audit and recycle. If you can, buy a hybrid car. When you can, walk or ride bicycles. Where you can, use light rail + mass transit. Tell your parents not to ruin the world that you live in. If you are a parent, join with your children to save the world they will live in. Switch to renewable sources of energy. Call your power company to see if they offer green energy. If they don't, ask them why not? Vote for leaders who pledge to solve this (global warming) crisis. Write to those leaders. If they don't listen, run for election. Plant trees, lots of trees. Speak up in your community. Call radio shows and write to newspapers. Insist to freeze CO2 emmissions + join international efforts to stop global warming. Reduce our dependence on oil. Help farmers grow alcohol fuels. Raising fuel economy standards require lower emmissions from automobiles. If you believe in prayers, pray the people will find the strength to change. In the words of the old African proverb "... when you pray, move your feet". Encourage everyone you know to see this documentary. Learn as much as you can about the climate crisis. Then put your knowledge into action.

"... when you pray, move your feet" An old African proverb

* kopihangtuah

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