I just got back from watching "An Inconvenient Truth" with a friend of mine. My buddy is very passionate about Al Gore, so much that he cried during Gore's 2000 concession speech. We talked our normal breed of politics over beers before the film and I waxed a little about the movie we were about to see. The problem I have with watching films concerning science is that I'm not educated enough to really counter any false information being thrown at me. When I view something on the History Channel I can easily point out certain mistruths or debunk certain points of view on our historical figures. In films like these I have to give some amount of trust to the experts.
That being said I loved the film. It frightened me and at the same time gave me hope. It made me laugh, but it did scare me to a large extent.
The presentation Al Gore gave was compelling, but it wasn't his data that scares me. It's the attitude of our collective that gives me worry. I know that no matter how many times Al or anyone presents material of this nature people, at least where I live, will simply pass it off as propaganda or worse ignore it completely.
I was pumping gas a few weeks ago while a guy next to me was filling up his SUV. He then posed a question to me:
"How much does it cost to fill that up?" he asked. I drive a 02 VW GTI which seemed to peak his curiosity.
"Well I use the highest octane, so about 40 bucks," I answered. "It would be about $30 if I chose a lower octane."
"Wow," he said as he shook his head. "You know how much it takes to fill this thing up?"
"I'm guessing $60?"
"Wow," I replied with a sincere look of mild shock. "80 bucks? Is it really worth it?"
"I take it over the pass a lot so I need something good in snow," he stated giving his excuses.
"Yeah but couldn't you get a Subaru or a Volvo that can handle snow well for cheaper?"
"True, but when I drive my family with this thing I know if I get hit we'll all be safe."
"Nothing like piece of mind."
"There sure isn't kid. Have a good day," he said as he climbed into his automotive beast. He drove away with the confidence ensured that he would likely survive a wreck much better than I would and that was all the excuse he needed to justify his environmental and economical demon.
Entire industries are created because of 'piece of mind'. We have our military, insurance, law enforcement, and even psychics, but when will our environment become a factor? Probably when it's too late.
"We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization." - Al Gore