What Are You Going to Do About Global Warming?

Temperature record for the past 150 ears
Source: Wikipedia

What are you going to do to help stem the ever increasing release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? To help diminish the effect humanity has been having on Earth’s climate? To ensure that future humans can enjoy the same planet we do?

First of all, if you haven’t yet seen An Inconvenient Truth, I strongly recommend that you do so now. I recently watched it, and was quite impressed—impressed enough that I promptly purchased my own copy and invited several friends over to watch it. There is plenty of information on the Internet if you want to know more about the film; below is part of the e-mail I sent to my friends when inviting them to see it.

  • “The film is a paragon of clear science communication. It explains the workings of complex physical phenomena, such as the jet stream, while chronicling the reality of glaciers receding and the increase in carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures.”Policy Leader of the Year: Al Gore Scientific American
  • “How well does the film handle the science? Admirably, I thought. It is remarkably up to date, with reference to some of the very latest research.” RealClimate, a weblog maintained by eleven climate scientists (and a finalist for Best Science Blog at the 2006 Weblog Awards)
  • “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.”Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  • “I can’t think of another movie in which the display of a graph elicited gasps of horror, but when the red lines showing the increasing rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and the corresponding rise in temperatures come on screen, the effect is jolting and chilling.…This is not everything you need to know about global warming: that’s the point. But it is a good place to start, and to continue, a process of education that could hardly be more urgent. An Inconvenient Truth is a necessary film.” A. O. Scott, The New York Times

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many reviewers urging their readers to see a movie, but let me add my voice to theirs: please watch An Inconvenient Truth. If you don’t have the money to rent or buy it, please visit it sharethetruth.us, where donors help pay for others to be able to see this movie.

The film is quite powerful. I hadn’t expected to be changed much by it, because I’ve known about global warming for a long time. I follow science news. I’ve seen the reports of changes in weather patterns. I’ve read studies showing the effects in the fields of biology and medicine. I’ve mentioned some of these on this weblog from time to time, and even devoted a previous post (“Is It Getting Hot in Here?”) to this topic.

And yet somehow it’s still easy to wallow in complacency, to believe that scientists and policy makers will find a way to fix things before it gets too late.

But no more. Too much damage has been done already. I’ve always been moderately environmentally conscious, making sure to recycle, turning down the heat when I leave the house, and so on. But it’s time to move things to the next level. I’ve started keeping my thermostat set a bit lower. I’m switching to the low-flow setting on my dishwasher, and packing it more efficiently. And even though my hospital offers free parking for me, I’ve started taking public transportation instead of driving there.

Yes, this is just a start. The film’s web site, climatecrisis.net, has more. Also important will be to help get the word out to others, including government representatives. If you have a weblog, please consider writing about this topic, as my friend Greg did over at Comments on Current Events. Feel free to leave a comment here pointing to your entry, if you like. I’ll even mention them in a future post.

Melissa Etheridge describes her feelings upon watching it in the song she wrote for the film, “I Need to Wake Up.” I normally don’t care that much for these moviesongs, but this one is especially good, and has some very apropos lyrics:

I need to move
I need to wake up
I need to change
I need to shake up
I need to speak out
Something’s got to break up
I’ve been asleep
And I need to wake up

It’s time to wake up. What are you going to do about global warming?


7 thoughts on “What Are You Going to Do About Global Warming?

  1. i agree with your ideas, your really going out to do your part! can only hope that others do the same.

    And I think I too will watch the film.

  2. My buddy knows a dude in germany who has a hydrogen powered Mercedes. Unlike people have been led to believe, the technology is avilable, and isn’t so expensive to produce, even on a commercial scale. However we are part of a bigger system, run by about 200 wealthiest people in the world. Untill the last drop of oil is sold, he’d have trouble popularizing this technology … unless he wants to be in the newspapers the next day with a headline caption reading: oh, so young and committed suicide 🙂 The wealthiest are actually buying patents to new technologies, so these new technologies are not dispersed ‘prematurely’ – thus sustaining the very old system which sustains their disproportionate wealth. That’s globalization in a nutshell – big companies merging with other big companies to form monstrous conglomerates that squeeze out small businesses. Agricultural companies are destroying seeds & variety of certain vegetation, so they soley have monopoly over say.. apples. So apples can only be purchased from them. Yup, mother earth is gonna have many changes in the upcomming 20 years, including the inevitable econo-ecological crisis. There will be lots of floods too.

  3. I walked away from that movie very impressed and deeply depressed. I’m not sure that humanity has the ability to act in concert on a global scale. After all, it’s never been done before. But that’s precisely what is needed at this juncture. I remember an analogy put forth by the late lamented Douglas Adams. Imagine that the human race is like a puddle of water filling a pothole in the road. The puddle thinks, hmmm, this is a rather nice pothole; it’s suits me very well. But the sun rises in the sky and the mercury along with it. The puddle begins to shrink and notices something awry. Hmmm, what can this be? It gets warmer and warmer and finally there is no puddle. The deeper message is that 1) we are temporary and 2) the world in which we live will change, and once the environment that spawned our existence changes, we will no longer be suited for this earth and we shall perish.

  4. Thanks for the comments! I am thrilled that you guys will see the film and I hope you let me know what you think; perhaps, if you like it, you can help me promote it.

    → Penseroso I do agree that Homo sapiens is likely transient, but I am not such a fatalist that I don’t think that we can’t try to minimize causing our own destruction, or even to try to fight/delay external harms. Incidentally, I don’t know if you got a chance to watch the short film at the end of my earlier post “Is It Getting Hot in Here?”, but I think you would like it.

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