May God forgive us for the mess we have created on this beautiful, and fragile planet we call home.
Today I went to see Al Gore's documentary "The Inconvenient Truth." The case is clear -- incontrovertible, really. Unless we -- as a planet, as a species -- make immediate and sweeping changes, life as we know it is about to end or at least change forever. But the "truth" and the greatest impact of the film isn't the dire warnings of what is to come, but the plain evidence of what has already occurred.
- An increase in both quantity and intensity of hurricanes
- Increased tornadoes, floods and "extreme weather" of all types
- Droughts in some place, flooding in others (37 inches in 24 hours??)
- Loss of glacier streams that provide drinking water for millions of people
- Melting of the ice caps
- Loss of species
- Thousands killed in heatwaves
We hear about these things, in Darfur and pieces. Or we hear stories like the news of war and genocide in Darfur, and we wonder why people would be so barbaric and cruel. When Al Gore showed a map of the shrinking water supply in Darfur, no mention of the war was necessary. Of course! When people are deprived of water and basic sustenance, how can we expect them to act better than mere animals? They are fighting to survive.
I expected to be troubled by this film. What I didn't expect was the sense of hope and possibility. Al Gore is not a doom-and-gloom street preacher holding a sign that says "The End is Near." Rather his sign says "It doesn't have to end. Help me!" Gore demonstrates clearly that the power is in our hands. Human beings will decide the fate of the earth, by action if not by inaction and chosen ignorance.
When the movie ended, everyone just sat there. We would have clapped but there wasn't a clear place to do so. It was as if the film didn't end, it just faded away. And everyone sat there, wondering what to DO. If there had been a volunteer with a sign-up sheet, we'd have signed up. If there had been a collection plate, we'd have opened our wallet. There should have been an altar call, or something!
But perhaps that is the effect Al Gore wanted. He left us awakened and unsettled, ready for action. I can only hope that he is prepared to lead us through this process.