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Al Gore Hits Home with 'An Inconvenient Truth' and Defends His Own Energy Usage
It's also the life's work of a man who has been studying scary facts and charts documenting climate change since before his path to the vice presidency began. Many Americans had no doubt forgotten that Al Gore has been urging action on global warming and carbon emissions for three decades. Yet Gore recalls in the film that, following the 2000 election scandal, he realized that telling this story was his real destiny.
And he says he walks his talk. Following the glitzy showcasing of climate change and An Inconvenient Truth at the Oscars (the film was awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature), Gore critics launched a media blitz questioning whether the nation's new environmental hero is practicing what he preaches. Accusations flew over how much power his Nashville mansion gobbles up every month. The Gore camp's answering statement notes that the family is buying power from a renewable energy generating company, installing solar panels, using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and purchasing carbon offsets to take responsibility for its energy footprint.
The sparks over the Gores' electric meter readings in Nashville are unsurprising: The title of the book and film comes from Gore’s views on how the current administration is dealing with global warming. As an experienced politician, Gore was surely prepared to have his personal carbon impact scrutinized unmercifully. Yet he frequently urges audiences to see climate change in a nonpartisan light. He writes in the book version of An Inconvenient Truth, “Although it is true that politics at times must play a crucial role in solving this problem, this is the kind of challenge that ought to completely transcend partisanship.”
Regardless of the controversy, An Inconvenient Truth is remarkable partly because Gore proves such an entertaining storyteller. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the film alternates between Gore's presentation of research by the world's leading scientists, footage recalling his decades of work on the issue, and sometimes-corny yet welcome anecdotes, humor ... even off-beat cartoons. The facts presented are alarming — but Gore's stance and the filmmaking itself give you as much a charge as a sense of doom.
In fact, perhaps the most compelling observation Al Gore makes in this story is one that presents the possibility that climate change is an opportunity as much as a crisis:
“The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise.”
Catch Melissa Etheridge's song "I Need to Wake Up" on the An Inconvenient Truth DVD.