It occurs to many of us to wonder----how would the world be different if Gore had become president in 2000? We are six years into the eight during which Bush et al deny the reality and relevance of science. They supplant science with profitable bullshit. This is eight years during which right-wing so-called christians have taken the reins and made truckloads of money for themselves, alleviating their guilt with the notion that the rapture is coming and we don't need to worry about our planet... if there was a hell I imagine their actions would put them on the fast track there.....but I don't believe in hell as somewhere you go when you die.......hell is coming to our planet.
There were two surprises for me in this movie. One was how warm Gore seems. He always has seemed distant, cold even. In this movie he becomes human to me. He has learned to communicate with regular people. I think he was shy, and he has finally overcome his basic shyness. Whatever the case, I mourn that he could not communicate this way 7 years ago. I regret that he was not able to get congress to care. I regret that we have an electoral college system that kept him from being elected president even though he won the popular vote. The policies of the current administration, and the cultural atmosphere fostered by it, are causing the end of the world as we know it. Rapture, here we come. If Gore had been more personable 7 years ago, it might not have happened this way. I don't mean to blame one person; he was doing his best, which is all we can ask of anyone. But it is a crying shame.
The second surprise was that after presenting a planetload of damning data, Gore has the chutzpa to say that we can still fix it. Apparently in the first version of the movie the frog in the heating water dies. In the version I saw the frog is rescued. He wants the children to have hope. He wants to believe there is hope. I am struggling to find hope in myself and so far I don't find it.
Gore offers a list of optimistic solutions at the end of the movie. He says we should ride our bikes and recycle--do what we each individually can do to minimize our carbon dioxide output. And he says that the crisis is reversable. This is the only statement he makes in the entire film that is not backed up with data. And frankly, I doubt it. I haven't seen any research that says we can turn it around. I've heard laypeople say it based on impressions, but I don't believe those impressions. Seeing the incredible spiking heat and gas charts makes me even more aware that our sudden burning of oil/coal/gas/forests is causing a devastating change. Odds are good that it will reach crisis proportions in my lifetime. The ice on this planet is melting so fast that I expect to live to see Greenland and the poles free of ice, ocean levels increasing enough to cover countries worth of soil, the currents in the Atlantic to shutting down.....Many many people will die. Gore talked about refugees, as if everyone who is displaced would survive. That's a sweet illusion, but more realistically there will be mass death. Our booming population will be brought back down to a sustainable size.
A friend of mine has suggested that the release of many spirits from their bodily cages will happen in 2012 (as predicted by the Mayan calendar) and following from that, as a species we will reach enlightenment--an enlightenment in which we become spiritual beings and our bodies cease to matter.....that it is not a bad thing, but perhaps even a good thing..... I cannot pretend to know or understand this. It is beyond what one can postulate through science. And because it is such a comforting belief, I suspect that it is only that. Just another fantasy. Religion specializes in selling the sweet comfort of a heaven in the future. Bacteria and fungus eat dead bodies.
Gore suggests that there is a larger threat than terrorism that we might ought to consider....Should we take action? Is there something worth doing? Or is it too late? Ani DiFranco sings a song in which she says the greatest sin is to withdraw from action, saying "I am going to live as comfortably as I can".
I have been so angry about this for so long....it has eaten at me, it has caused me to live a different life than I would have lived had I been blissfully ignorant. Coming out of the movie, my friend expressed that he was furious. The next morning he was still angry. I was sad and I am still sad. I feel angry when I think about the politics, and the ignorance and apathy of our people that permits such politics. But when I think about the impending death and suffering, I am just sad. It is hard to imagine. It is harder to accept. And it is natural. This is science. This planet doesn't care about our feelings or our fantasies. What we believe does not matter. It will go along following the rules of matter and energy, regardless of whether we live or die. As one dear teacher of mine used to say, "Ten out of ten people die".
I can only live the best I can each day. There is nothing more to do.
We live in interesting times.