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Sustainability 52: An Inconvenient Truth
Though some may question this or that particular assertion made in the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth — and, unbelievably, there are still those on this fragile planet that question whether man is having any impact whatsoever on climate — there is no questioning the power and public impact of that documentary.
After premiering at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, the 94-minute film, based on a slide show and presentation made by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and also developed as a book, went on to popular and critical success. In addition to rising to fifth among top-grossing documentaries, it secured Academy Awards for both Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song.
After receiving special recognition from the Humanitas Prize as well as The Producer’s Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award, the film also went on to win documentary awards from film critics from areas as diverse as Chicago and Phoenix, Ohio and Utah, Las Vegas and Kansas City. On the basis of the film, his simultaneous book on the same topic, and his many presentations of the original slide-show to audiences around the globe to raise awareness of climate change, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 (awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
The documentary has been credited with doing a great deal to help raise public awareness of the potential risks and dangers of human-induced climate change. It has also been seen to help energize the environmental, sustainability and green movements. The film (and/or much of its main thrust) has been included in various science curricula around the world.
Timed for release with the documentary film was the companion book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Though the book, lacking a table of contents and index, reads somewhat like a paper version of a slide-show or quick-cut cinema presentation, it is no less compelling. In fact, its coffee-table styling may make it more accessible to the broader public than a detailed and precise scientific tome. Writing in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani asserts that, “An Inconvenient Truth is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.” The book has had strong and broad positive reception.