A Reaction on the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"
An Inconvenient Truth was a documentary which aims to educate people of the effects and causes of global warming and how, supposedly, it can be solved. At face value, it is a really helpful piece of machinery to teach and make others aware but I have a little issue with it in the way the movie wants us to “take action”.
Albeit the correctness of the movie in scientific terms, it was a bit exaggerated. Gore’s purpose, it seemed, was mostly to threaten the audience instead of giving them stable and neutral scientific information. I didn’t like how Gore used his own life story in the film at some points, considering that he was a politician and could have, possibly, just used this environmental issue as a propaganda campaign. It featured too much of Gore’s life, in my opinion.
In the end part of the movie, he says that individuals have the power to change the tracks of global warming and that could be done mainly by: reducing our consumption which reduces our emission, voting candidates who have a solid plan for the environment and donating to environmental groups..
It champions individualism in the sense that it reduces the problem of global warming as merely an individual problem and thus could be solved through individual means. This can be noticed in the part where Gore states that the primary and best thing we can do is to buy more eco-friendly products than those which are not. It seemed to have forgotten that not all people have access to “eco-friendly” products, let alone the capacity to buy it. It failed to address that, in most countries, the “not eco-friendly” products are much cheaper than those which are. The solution the movie offers is a sort of bourgeois solution, as it does not consider the situation of those in the bottom ranks of social hierarchy.
It failed to emphasize the need for collective action to achieve a more people-oriented solution. What it did encourage, however, was the idea that global warming was caused by individuals and thus can be solved by individuals also. Global warming wasn’t caused by people buying environment-damaging products because there was really nothing else to buy, and it doesn’t also end there. I’m not saying that green living is wrong, it’s very important yet, it is futile. We need a more lasting solution, something that takes into account not just individual choices but everything that has happened to us since the industrial revolution because that’s when the condition of our environment started going down.
Here is what the solution I hoped was advocated in the movie: a way to make the correct thing to do the easiest thing to do. As what Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff said, “It’s hard to swim upstream when the current is just pulling you down.” What we really need is the cooperation of all the people to work our way to a new system. How can we do this? By arousing them to the causes and effects of the problem and the solution to it; by organizing them because, as I said before, it is only though collectivism and working together that we can ensure a mass-oriented victory and; by mobilizing them because it is not enough that they know the problem and they have organized themselves, they have to take meaningful action. Action like resisting large scale mining operations, actively participating in a grassroots environmental organization, raising not just the awareness of more people but also teaching what can be done past the obvious solutions and countless other things. The important thing to remember is that we can’t fix the current system simply because it isn’t broken, it was made like this. You don’t fix what isn’t broken. We need a new system, a green, pro-people system, and we need everyone to take part in making that.