Aug 30, 2017
by Tish Levee
I came away from the new Al Gore movie simply astonished by the power of this film, the concepts, the conversations, the graphics, and the stunning cinematography. In contrast with An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Gore’s first movie, the sequel has fewer charts (although they are excellent) and more powerful emotional content. There’s less of Vice-President Gore’s personal stories and more interactions and stories with people being affected by what Gore is now calling “the climate crisis.”
Opening with a montage of photos of climate change with voice-over of various criticisms of Gore and his Climate Reality Project, it shifts to Greenland. There his meeting with a Swiss scientist sets the stage for how much has changed since the earlier movie. While boating on a lake, they talk of walking on it when it was an ice sheet 30 years earlier. Trekking over another ice sheet, they see a small moulin—a nearly vertical shaft formed by water percolating through the ice—and then a large one where water furiously rushing down carves out a path through the ice. Since 2000, the level of the ice has dropped 12 meters, graphically shown by two photos of the research station—one of it sitting on the ice and one now on stilts high above the ice.
We follow Gore as he travels around the world to areas hard hit by the climate crisis, presenting his Climate Reality Leadership training. In Miami, where they’re lifting the roads, he talks with the mayor and others who’ve lived there a long time, all while wading through knee-deep water, despite pumps continuously going.
In Tacloban, Philippines, where Super Hurricane Haiyan demolished this capital of Leyte in 2013, killing over 6200 people and causing $12 billion plus in damages, he gives another training. Footage of the storm and its aftermath, often shot by individuals on their cell phones, is devastating. Profoundly moving are videos the former mayor shot of him and his family breaking into the ceiling of their home to escape while flood waters and winds swirl through the upper story. Listening to him and a young Climate Reality trainee share their stories against a backdrop of the storm’s devastation is difficult, as is watching him and Gore walking through a huge graveyard, where rough wooden crosses practically touch each other.
While the message of An Inconvenient Sequel is the same as its predecessor, it’s more poignant and told with even more urgency.Early on, Gore warns that while there’ve been huge increases in the intensity of the climate crisis, we need to not despair. Because there’s a lot of hope, too; we’re nearing a “tipping point” in challenges to the climate crisis. Like the trainees we learn about the many positive things happening to mitigate the climate crisis. We learn that we, too, need to “Fight like your world depends on it,” because it does!
Science, statistics, and graphics are woven into scenes of the Climate Reality trainings. More than 12,000 have attended trainings in over 125 countries since the first 50 trainees met in the Gore family barn in Tennessee after the first movie, an event which many trainees say motivated them to get involved. The three-day training is free; Gore donated the profits from both movies and the books they’re based on, his Nobel Prize money (won for the 1st movie), and other funds totaling nearly $3 million to support this project.
As in the first movie, there’re links for taking action at the end plus a site where you can download a quick 10-slide version of Gore’s training to make presentations of your own. Get more ideas from “10 Days of Action” at inconvenientsequel.tumblr.com/action. It was great to see, in the credits, that all the energy involved in making the movie was offset.
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