What a name and what a book (haven't seen the film yet). As some readers may know I have been on a holiday on the other side of Australia (the beautiful Gold Coast) for two weeks (got back saturday night shortly before midnight). Before we left I spotted Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" in book form at the airport book-shop. I picked it up, flipped through and baught it. There was no iffing and butting about it. The book is an invaluable source of information with a level insight and research I have rarely seen in any discussion of Global Warming.
The book also has a personal "Al Gore" touch to it- relating the experiences of Al Gore and his family to attitudes about environment, human interaction and global changes. It's amazing how an event involving a person or people close to you can cause an emotion or realisation which has across-the-board impacts on your life views. Al Gore discribes how situations in his life have brought him to appreciate and understand the environment more, to fear losing places and a lifestyle dear to his heart, to want and be able to make a difference all of his own in the fight against global warming.
After winning Presidency and then losing it again during the Florida votes scandal, Al Gore did not relegate the rest of his years to fighting against the Bush family, republicans or any other personal vendetta. He asked himself (my interpration) "Well, What CAN I do now?". The answer for Gore was obvious. A long history of supporting and investigating research on global warming since his days as a university student, Gore had become increasingly concerned about the level of ignorance and even denial of the imminent dangers and changes caused by Global Warming.
This was a timely, brave decision made by Gore. In the context of having one of the biggest political acheivements possible just snatched from under his feat he did not run from politics out to a little hidden-away piece of paradise to live a life of luxury and self-pity, like many would. He instead decided to act as a catalyst and inspiration to those who need guidance on what the real facts are and how to fight the impeding crisis of Global Warming. An inspiration to persons like myself who have an absolute dedication to finding solutions to what could be the greatest theat the human race has ever been exposed to since pre-historic civilizations.
There are many practicle do-it-yourself ways to decrease your damaging "human impact" on the fragile ecosystems upon which we rely. Al Gore suggests many ways to ensure your life leaves no negative impact on the sensitive global environment. The primary fouc for those who wish to live this way is to start by adjusting your way of life to a "Carbon Neutral" one. No this does not mean riding a bike instead of driving, eating raw vegetables or living in a house with no airconditioning or refridgerator. In this modern world there are many ways for a person to counter-balance their carbon emissions. Fore those with extra cash it can be as simple as buying "Carbon Credits"- in effect paying others to reduce carbon emissions or create "carbon-sinks", such as planting forrests which turn Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen as they grow.
For others who do not have excess wealth there are many other suggestions which are not exclusively geared towards reducing and offsetting your own a carbon emissions(though this is most definately a suggested first-step for anyone who does not wish to be labelled a hypocrit during arguments). Political activism, as much as the word connotes so many things I would never stand for; is not just a farce. It is a necessary step in evolution and an increasingly important one in the fight against Global Warming. Environmentalists have long been labelled "greenies" "do gooders" "lefties" "tree huggers" "hippys" and millions of other names which can often be much more vulgar- but the time has come to put aside the names or adopt that childhood cliche "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"- and hold it close to your heart as the struggle to avoid the collapse of civilization as we know it.
We do not need to revert back to the 15th century horse & carts and forget about industrial evolution; there are many practical, already in-use technologies and methodologies and plans wich can be used to decrease human-impact on the environment whilest still harbouring advancements in technology. The first step is to start talking to others in the community about Global Warming. Hear their opinions and see the amazing level of resistance to accepting Global Warming's existance despite the scientific communities consensus on global warming. The next step is to research the facts on global warming. If you are going to continue to debate a topic without becoming angry, frustrated and feeling like your getting nowhere because others think they already know the subject inside out- you need to know the subject inside out yourself. If you don't you risk entering merky waters during debate and getting stuck there forever, admittedly there are some things which can not be proven; what will happen in the future is one of them.
What we can prove however is what has happened in the past, and we are not just talking years, tens of years or even centuries. Scientists can take samples from many parts of the earth where weathering has left detailed "footprints", which allow them to understand how the earths seasons changed, what temperatures existed, what levels of acidity, humidity and carbon were in the air. The most important of these samples are those which come from our poles, Artica and Antartica- respectively. These poles can show us the level of polar-cap melting and expansion, which subsequently can tell us the average global temperature of times past. Ice samples can also show levels of Carbon Dioxide existing in the earths atmosphere year-by-year (well, season by season) dating back to the last ice-age. The results, not surprisingly, map potentially devastating impacts caused upon the normal cycles of the earth since the advent of human industrialisation.
The scientific community is at an absolute consensus. These are not some "whack-job science freaks" who love "armageddon style conspiracy theories", these are the worlds most respected scientists. They all agree that Global Warming poses an imminent threat to the Earth's delicately balanced ecosystem which has allowed life to thrive and humans to advance and evolve at an increasingly rapid rate for thousands of years. Now we have advanced too far too fast without noticing the changes in world around us, and the time has come that we must advance further forwards at an even more rapid pace- but this time with an absolute dedication to conservation, preservation and redevelopment of the eco-system that supports us.
In another post to come soon I will show examples in the form of images of the devastating impact we have had on our environment, as well as proof of the aformention scientific research on how the earth has changed (or rather, stayed the same) for thousands of years since the last ice-age.