By far the most disturbing class I ever took in college was astronomy. The planetarium shows always featured either the theme, “Look how insignificant we are,” or ,”We could all die at any minute.” Our instructor told us about asteroids that hit our little planet all the time. We saw pictures. The conversation goes…
“So if this had been a major city, millions would have died.”
“Shouldn’t we be concerned?”
“Oh, well, it’s unlikely.”
“Yeah, but that one you have on the screen happened about two years ago.”
“Yes, but it is most likely to hit the ocean, or an unoccupied land mass. Like this giant crater in this slide… anyway, if they see it coming, they could nudge it several inches from thousands of miles away and that would be enough to steer it off course.”
“Didn’t seem to work in this picture.”
“Well, yes, no one knows about most of them until after they hit.”
“So, what you’re saying is, there’s always a slight chance that a giant asteroid could come hurtiling towards my window and pulverize you, me, and everyone we know; we have the capability to stop this and we don’t bother to hire two or three grad students to stay on top of this sort of thing?”
“Well, yes, except that a large asteroid really has the potential to destroy all life on earth. But really, it’s quite unlikely. So here’s another picture from 1992; this crater is about the size of New Hampshire…”
I have only felt that sort of terror and shock over the fate of our world on one other occasion — last week. I went to go see this film called “An Inconvenient Truth.” It’s about the presentation that Al Gore’s been giving in cities all over the world to spread the truth about global warming.
I’m sure you’re thinking, a slide show about Al Gore? zzzzzzz …. SNORE…. zzzzzz….
Yet the facts alone are compelling enough to make this required watching for anyone who has or is thinking about having children. Or anyone who cares about the future of humanity. Or anyone that’s planning on living to a ripe old age. Or anyone who was affected by Hurricane Katrina. Or anyone whose noticed that summers keep getting hotter and hotter. Or — Okay, you get the idea.
The presentation of the film is engaging without being too flashy. I was watching Ebert and Roeper (I don’t really like either of them but I like to watch them bicker — now that’s reality TV!) and Ebert said that for the first time in his entire career he felt that it was apt to say, “You owe it to yourself to see this movie.”
On another note, I think its fantastic that Al Gore hasn’t gone into retirement. But where was this side of him when he was running for office? If he’s so concerned about global warming than it should have been a huge part of his campaign. In the movie Gore has wit and character. Where was this in the speeches and debates? Of course the Democrats don’t want to step on any toes. There so worried about stepping on toes they can barely cross the street.
Whatever your opinions of Al, please go see this movie. You won’t regret it.