Last night my husband and I went to see Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. Though I have been a fan of Al Gore since the late 1980's, I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to use a rare and highly-coveted date night to watch a feature-length film with a gloom and doom messsage about global warming.
I'm glad I didn't listen to myself.
An Inconvenient Truth is factual, compelling, startling, and overwhelming; but I didn't find it depressing. That's just not the sort of leader Al Gore is; he doesn't engage in scare tactics and hyperbole, and neither does his film. The overall message in An Inconvenient Truth is an optimistic one: We are on a collision course toward global devastation if we continue our current practices. But we can change our current practices and reverse the problem we have created. We can do it, we must do it, we will do it.
I feel better informed today than I did yesterday. More than that, I feel more empowered today than I did yesterday. I believe that my personal actions can make a difference. And, after several years of feeling disenfranchised by the political establishment, I am beginning to feel hopeful once again that my political actions and the votes I cast can make a difference as well. I have high hopes for the outcome of the 2006 midterm elections, and I am developing resolve - and, yes, even optimism - for the 2008 Presidential election. I haven't thrown my support behind any particular candidate yet, but I have to say that the fine people (and autism advocates) at Wampum are promoting a very intriguing grassroots campaign.
As I watched An Inconvenient Truth, the thing that was most on my mind was not the polar ice caps, not the warming of the ocean, and not Hurricane Katrina. The thing that was most on my mind was Bud. If I truly want Bud to have the best possible future, then I needed to be in that theater, listening to that message, and learning some terribly inconvenient truths.
Today I read a terrific review by Roger Ebert, who seemed to be affected by the movie in a similar way. He wrote:
In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.
Even if you're not typically a fan of Al Gore, even if you disagree with his political leanings, I urge you to watch An Inconvenient Truth.
Someday our children will thank you.