An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Documentary

I couldn’t escape the irony as I sat in the theater, just minutes into the film, and watched Al Gore speaking in Houston about what could happen. Months later the rain and catastrophic flooding is happening in Houston and we barely have time to notice that a third of Bangladesh is under water. Yet some of those in power in our nation refuse to believe that climate change is happening. To believe requires taking responsibility, and that might impinge on policy.

The film doesn’t leave us with doom and gloom. We are urged to take action.

We want to believe that we can control our lives and our environment, and then refuse to believe that our actions have an effect on that same global environment. We suggest that science will save us, but we refuse to listen to what science is telling us. Christians suggest we see God’s handiwork in the natural world, but we can’t be bothered to listen to what the natural world is telling us about our lifestyle choices. We are told it will affect the economy if we slow down on fossil fuels, but neglect the other part of the ledger sheet that looks at the high cost of ignoring the climate reality. Yes, I left this movie in a disgruntled mood. My great-grandfather died down in a coal mine in a cave-in. My grandfather died of black lung. I refuse to accept that my yet-to-be-born grandchildren will be sacrificed to our love affair with fossil fuels. My family has given enough, and it is time to come up with another alternative. Enough ranting; on to the rest of the film.

An Inconvenient Sequel is worth seeing, not for the entertainment value, but for a reminder to not lose hope. I’m trying to do my part, generating 65 percent of my electricity on my roof and walking to work, but this viewing reminded me that we need the will of the whole world to bring change. Some critics have suggested that this film is too much about Gore and his personality. But this issue must become personal. Denying that it is happening won’t keep the water from rising, the droughts from increasing, the storms from becoming stronger, and the average temperature from rising. As I edit this reflection, many parts of Florida are preparing to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Irma; it is rapidly becoming personal for many citizens of the Americas.

The film offers insight as we watch the training of activists, as we see the summation of all that is happening, and as we see people doing meaningful things to change the situation. The film doesn’t leave us with doom and gloom. We are urged to take action. While Gore is on the way to a speech, we see him with a climate change denier who suggests the absurd idea that raising Miami’s streets by a foot will solve the problem of rising tides. The side trip to a conservative Texas town that chose to be powered 100 percent with renewable energy because it is fiscally responsible highlights a more helpful solution.

Gore suggests God is offering us a choice between life and death and we should choose life. Earlier in the film he shows how climate change created the right conditions for the spread of the Zika virus. Surely this should encourage pro-life advocates to care about climate change and healthy babies being born, since many refuse to have a child when they live in a Zika-prevalent zone. As the film reminds us, it is both red and blue cities and landscapes that will bear the brunt of climate change. Gore challenges the United States to lead in the change, not to be the last to join the movement.

Is the film great? No. But it does offer an appropriate mix of urgency and hope in a time when our country is being tempted to stick its head in the sand and pretend that it won’t be under water in a few years. Gore isn’t giving up, slowing down, or waiting for someone else. Neither should you or I.

 

All reviews express the opinions of the reviewer, not necessarily the views of Third Way.

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2 responses to “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

  1. John K says:

    Jerry,
    I truly appreciate your article. I’m a little older than you, but I distinctly remember as a child reading articles in Popular Science, Reader’s Digest, and other periodicals of the impending dome of a rapidly advancing ice age. We were going to become a large mountain of ice, slowly creeping toward central America. The science was positive this was going to happen.
    Move ahead to a few years ago when Mr. Gore and his ilk went around the country, and world, prophesying the doom of global warming! We even had an associate of his make a presentation at my place of work, showing the “hockey stick” in the temperature increase that was going to melt the polar ice caps! We would all be living on beach front property!

    Rather than create any ill feelings about the topic, I’d like to state my opinion. It appears that through the past several thousand years, there have been periods of climate change, primarily increases and decreases in the temperature, that have occurred over extended periods of time.
    The idea that the earth is going to end because of the use of fossil fuels may be true. Then again, it may not be true. I believe the earth as we know it, will end, but it will be in God’s timing. I’m in my 7th decade of existence and one thing I’ve learned, and know for a fact that is 100% true, is that God is a lot smarter than I.

    Mr. Gore’s proclamations of doom due to our co2 emissions while flying around in his private jet, and owning more than one home that uses more electricity in one hour than you and i consume in a month, seems to be a little on the hypocritical side of life. What you are doing by walking to work and using solar energy shows your integrity in “practicing what you preach” and is commendable. Mr. Gore sorta reminds me of the televangelists that preach poverty messages and then go home in their chauffeur driven limousines to their mansions.

    In summary, I commend you for following what you believe. I pray you will allow me to follow what I believe… you may be correct in your beliefs, or I may be correct in my beliefs. We both might be surprised to find out that neither of is is “right on the money” with our beliefs. One thing i am sure that we would agree on, is that Jesus Christ is coming again, and when he does and we leave this large piece of dirt called earth, we are going to be living in a place so much better, that we will do nothing but praise the One who has created everything!

    Blessings on you and keep up the great work!
    John

  2. Jerry Holsopple says:

    Thank you for your observations from a decade further down the road. I invite you to read Romans 8 about the earth stopping its decay, which makes me wonder if we shouldn’t treat this earth with more respect, given that it too bears the imprint of God. May you live the rest of your days in wonder.

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