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Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth

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A friend of mine recommended this movie to me, which I started watching this morning. It’s about Al Gore’s campaign to bring awareness to the issue of global warming. A couple of ideas popped into my head immediately as I started watching it.

First, I was very aware that the content he produced was very emotional in nature and was presented for maximum dramatic effect. For example, he showed a graph of the world’s temperature cycles for the last 650,000 years. To demonstrate that the projected temperatures are way higher than the normal highs of the cycle, he got on a lift and pointed to a part of the board that is … well, not on the board. A new board was unveiled above the current one, which I thought was an interesting technique for making people remember. In the article The Passage Of Time, it was mentioned that people tend to form new memories for things that are new and unusual. Well, this is probably one of the only times I’ve seen someone do that, and as such, it makes me remember it enough to mention it now.

Another example of the emotional targetting of the film is how he demonstrates the consequences of global warming. Did he mention that he was making loads of money off of the movie? Nope. Unlike me in Seven Mistakes In One Day, he had the good sense to appeal to the emotions of other people, the part they cared about. He showed images of Hurricane Katrina victims and other victims of natural disasters (possibly) caused by global warming. He tried to bring awareness by making people associate “global warming” with “pain and suffering”. Unfortunately, the website mentioned at the end of the movie is an affiliate website for DVD sales of the movie, which lessons the credibility of the movie somewhat. That’s not a bad thing in itself, as he is creating value by bringing awareness to a problem and deserves to be paid for that. However, it does cause some doubts. Now I know how those vitalmotion people felt when we took over their forum and told them we intended on making money from it.

The other thing that is of interest is that he mentioned how opponents of global warming tried to spread doubt. To show that, he used the slogan from the tobacco industry – Doubt Is Our Product. This immediately reminded me of the whole glasses thing I wrote about in How To See More Clearly. Whenever there are two guys on opposing sides who want you to do something, you can be sure that they’ll both try to make convincing arguments. Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, it’s two guys, one telling you something is happening, one telling you it isn’t. How the heck are you supposed to know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t? Sure, they can present you with all sorts of scientific evidence, but that’s just a piece of paper. Whatever one guy presents, the other guy can just give you another piece of paper drawing the opposite conclusions. Plus, they can both think they’re telling the truth, as they understand it. Like how would I know if the globe is warming or not? I stay in one little place and don’t really even remember yesterday that well, much less how hot it was a decade ago. It’s kind of interesting how anything I know about this subject would be complete hearsay from someone else. Then again, so are most things.

At the core level, you can even doubt if the world actually exists, or is just a figment of your imagination. Well, since the world wouldn’t matter much if it was just a figment of your imagination, let’s assume things are the way they seem to be. We have this gigantic rock with some holes in it and a bunch of thermometers stuck on it all over the place. Looking through the available data from the internet, it does appear that the highest temperatures have occurred during the last decade or so. Sure, there are some skeptics websites that say it may not be from CO2, which is fine. Either way though, it does seem like we’re setting some all time highs for temperatures in some places and we’d like not to be boiled alive :)

A couple of solutions come to mind immediately. Al Gore mentions that one of the dangers of the polar ice caps melting is that the ocean will be hotter since the ice is reflecting a lot of the light rays. If the glaciers are gone, then the heat will be absorbed into the ocean, adding the global warming problem. Well, that seems pretty easily fixable to me. Just get a bunch of big metal plates, and put them together over the North Pole spanning the approximate area of the glaciers. Instant giant mirror, kind of like the one in Futurama’s global warming episode he showed on the show – except our mirror is unbreakable! Come to think of it, might as well put it in space (we’d need a smaller piece of metal in that case) – just don’t be stupid and make it a thin piece of glass that can cracked by a pebble!

Another effect of the glaciers melting mentioned is the rising sea levels. I find this a bit ironic since a few slides in, he mentions that some lakes were completely dried up because we diverted certain rivers. There also seems to be a lot of “conserve water” ads/websites around. Why not just divert the rivers so that the rain water doesn’t reach the ocean? That way, we get our irrigation and the water level will be lower. If that doesn’t work, well, the ocean is basically just water in a big hole! We can make the hole a little bigger, and put that extra dirt on land. That would permanently solve the problem since there’s a fixed amount of water on Earth. Just like make sure we dig up the dirt from the oceans relatively evenly so we don’t crack any tectonic plates or anything.

As for the CO2 levels, that seems like the easiest problem to solve. Just plant more stuff! Make a couple empire state buildings of vines or something. Or use all that water we diverted and grow some forests. Better yet, reproduce a couple billion tons of algae, and dump them somewhere. They’ll block out the heat, and turn the CO2 into oxygen.

Of course, if none of them work, it’s probably time to invest in some real estate at higher altitudes :-)

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