Monday, November 27, 2006

Between Fear and Despair lies Action

Over our short break, Guillermo and I went to see a film which everyone should see. In fact, it is crucial that everyone sees it and considers its content; and I do seriously mean everyone.

The film in question wasn't made to "entertain" but that was never its intention; it was made because a message of utmost importance that is affecting all of us and our future generations has too often been deliberately swept under the carpet by interest groups which do not necessarily have our best interests at heart – politicians and the corporations which back them.

I am talking about Al Gore's documentary on climate changes - An Inconvenient Truth (La Verdad Incómoda). Confronted by hard scientific facts and empirical data, and most worryingly how such facts and data have been manipulated to confuse us and thereby diluting the issue's importance, the duration of this film was an illuminating, intellectually exhilarating yet distressing 100 minutes.

I am not American and I do not feel adequately informed to opine on Gore's politics but watching this documentary in which he built a clear and compelling case for the terrifying consequences we are letting ourselves into by our own actions and inaction, I couldn't help but wonder how could more than half of America's electorates get it so wrong!

Of course, USA is not the only country with a president rejecting the Kyoto Convention. The increasingly pro-US Australian Prime Minister is the lone and blinded supporter of the simplistic Texan, both God-fearing men are hell-bent on spinning a myth of global warming being a myth.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon not understanding it" –
Upton Sinclair. I would add to that funding for presidential election campaigns and in Australia's case – one insecure man's desire to bury his nose deeply in the rear of the biggest bully on the playground which is the World.

Consider this: not one single "peer-reviewed" report (such reports are reviewed by people trained in the specific field of knowledge) on global warming has disputed the existence of the phenomena and its on-going destructive impacts on earth but over 50% mainstream media reports, majority of which originated in the U.S., presently cast doubts on the "potential" harm such phenomena would do to our planet, if it exists at all in the first place.

What lie between are numerous lobbyists, public relation professionals, otherwise known as spin doctors, all paid handsomely to "doctor" difficult to digest facts, figures and academic jargons for us, the people, who generally are too preoccupied to think deeply about any issue other than our own. And here lies the irony because global warming is our issue, it affects us everyday in its subtle ways.

My O-level history teacher at boarding school, Dr.Tosoni, once said "the first lesson in history you should learn is that humans do not learn from history".

Now consider this: In the time when the Church and simple folks believed the earth was flat, the ones who believed otherwise were vilified, ostracised or burnt to death. I'm afraid we do not have the same luxury of time our ancestors did in waiting for the majority's view to change on the shape of earth because both Artic and Antarctic glaciers are melting while we sit in inactive stupor.

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