Inconvenient for whom?

Former presidential candidate Al Gore’s new documentary makes him look really good and global warming look really bad. Both concepts seem really credible, thanks to the director’s skill and Gore’s years of dedication to explaining this vital issue.

The online activists at were so enthusiastic about the film that they launched a nationwide campaign to get people to buy advance tickets and see the film early. They also provided a web link exposing another campaign that pooh-poohs the dangers of global warming. Funding for that campaign apparently came from Exxon Mobil.

Our group of activist friends agreed that everyone should see this movie because it dramatically exposes the unarguable truth of impending global disaster. At the same time, we weren’t happy with the explanation of the cause of the problem, nor with the recommended solutions.

At a nearby restaurant, I asked folks what they thought.

College professor

“I went in expecting it to be depressing because of what I think we’re doing to the environment. But it’s become clear through the movie that we humans created this problem and we have some technologies and some possibilities to solve the problem. As Al Gore says, what’s missing is the political will to use what we already know to solve the problem.

“I would say that the movie is an hour-and-a-half science lesson, so I think it would be helpful if it were shown in small segments with the people who are viewing the movie having discussion. I think it would be helpful to have scientists and environmentalists there to react to different pieces in the movie. I think it’s very useful for people to find out about global warming. But I think you should go into it knowing that you’re going to hear an hour and a half of facts, scientific facts. Just be prepared for that.

“In terms of the information that’s there, I’d give it four or four-and-a-half stars, but in terms of the way it’s put together, you have to want to go see it.”

Technical worker

“It was funny that he called it ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ because he spent so little time talking about why it was inconvenient and for whom. He wanted to shock people into working on the environment, but that movie was not shocking in any way. It was very cool and measured. It was as if he was trying to be the ‘anti-Michael Moore,’ in my opinion. I don’t think he is going to get the kind of impact that he talked about and that he wants.

“If he had talked about profit, if he had talked about who is actually profiting from the destruction of the environment, then it might have been effective. But Al Gore is not interested in talking about those kinds of things.

“Look at how he grew up! He grew up on a farm that grew tobacco. He made a lot of money off that. His life is so disconnected from what ordinary working people go through.

“Working people are not going to identify with anything in that film. He showed two flashes of Katrina. He could have made a whole movie about Katrina and that would have been a lot more interesting. I’d still give it three stars because it’s a whole lot better than nothing, and nothing is what’s been out there on this so far.”

Bilingual teacher

“I would give it two or three stars. I would recommend it because some people don’t know the facts, and there are a lot of facts. People should go and see the effects of global warming. I don’t expect my life to change a lot. I’m already trying to recycle and save energy.”

Math teacher

“I thought it was very effective in presenting the incontrovertible facts of global warming. Very effective. So, the truth part of the movie was well done. Unfortunately, I kept asking myself ‘inconvenient for whom?’ He never really explained. The closest he got was that some people were ignoring it because they were being paid to ignore it. But who was paying them? We never got into that, and I think it would have been a much more powerful treatment of the problem.

“Clearly, most people who have thought about global warming at all know that it’s happening. That’s not the issue.

“The issue is: how do we take enough control of our economy to change direction? In my opinion, that’s what’s going to have to happen. He avoided that subject at all costs. I give it three stars because, even though it didn’t really lead us anywhere, it gave us a good grasp of the facts.”

College student

“It was good at giving us possible solutions, but not solutions that everyone can actually do. They are suggesting that we go out and buy more energy-efficient products and cars, and recycle, and if we can’t convince our senators and representatives, then we should run for office. Like everyone can do that!

“People have to work and have to spend their hard-earned money on these things. It’s not really a possibility to go buy a new car just because you think you should. We are going to have to go on driving old clunkers that can’t pass emission standards. That’s not our fault, that’s what we have to do. Until the rich and the corporations and the politicians step up and make those real viable options for people, global warming will not improve on a wide scale.”

Retired factory worker

“We used to be hippies. Didn’t work. And now Al Gore wants us to be hippies again!”

Social worker

“Five stars! I would give the movie five stars because I think this is the movie that put all the facts together and made it all interesting. It sealed up all the holes! There’s no way to argue against that whole case for global warming, and I have to give Gore credit for that. I’m recommending it to everybody.”