Sunday, December 09, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I finally got around to watching the DVD of "An Inconvenient Truth", the award-winning documentary about Al Gore's presentation on global warming and climate change. Although it comes across at times like a political campaign film, the film makes quite an impact on several levels. For one, it shows us a man's passion. We don't know what kind of president Al Gore would have made, but it is interesting to see an interesting, articulate person who was once "the next president of the United States" (as he jokingly notes) make a clear case about a difficult issue. That's rather refreshing.

Humankind is a force of nature. Even if one wants to skip over the Genesis account and its theology of stewardship of all creation, there are others besides Gore who make this case. In his book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman argues that humankind and its progenitors started affecting the ecology very early and were responsible for the annihilation of whole species in the prehistoric, pre-technological era.

But back to Gore. Whether you buy his argument or not, you should take two things into account. First, his interest in the environment goes back to college when professor Roger Revelle shared with students his research on climate change. According to Gore, Revelle was a major influence on his life and created an interest in environmental issues that followed him into politics. The question for the church is, "What concerns are we instilling in young adults today?"

Second, it is clear from the audiences shown in the film who attended Gore's presentation around the world that this issue resonates with young adults. I am not sure if this is because they consider it a moral issue (as Gore argues) or because they are concerned about their survival and that of their offspring. Either way, young men and women seem eager to not only learn but to become involved. Is the church recognizing this?

I don't know what kind of president Al Gore would have been, but in the long run, he may have greater impact for good than the present resident of the White House.

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