By Seth Tamarkin, Contributing Writer
Since his shocking defeat in the 2000 election, former Vice President Al Gore has kept his hands full with important projects. As a “recovering politician” as he puts it, Gore spearheaded the movement to stop global warming’s harmful effects on the environment with his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
Now, with climate change risks increasing dramatically and an administration supposedly hellbent on doing nothing about it, Al Gore made An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power to warn us once again before it’s too late. To celebrate its opening, Gore presented a special screening of his film last Thursday to over 1000 colleges via Skype, culminating in a live Q and A with students nationwide.
Luckily, the Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives found out about this event and got our university to be one of the many to participate.
Before the screening, Campus Sustainability and Residential Initiatives assistant director Jamie Jacquart delivered a speech in which he discussed climate change with the audience and urged them to visit a MASSPIRG booth in the corner of the Grand Reading Room, where the film was screened.
MASSPIRG, a consumer group that, according to its website, “stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society” had its Umass Dartmouth chapter present so audience members encouraged by the film could find ways to help the environment.
Included at the booth was a petition to make UmMass Dartmouth run on 100 percent renewable by 2050 and a sign-up sheet to volunteer in more activities that can help save the environment.
Once the conversations subsided and the film began, it was clear MASSPIRG made a good call in thinking the film would inspire people. Through a dizzying amount of statistics, live footage of environmental destruction, and Al Gore’s stern narration, the viewer witnesses Al Gore’s original prophecies coming true in horrific fashion.
In one ironic portion, Al Gore shows ten-year-old footage of Fox News hosts chastising him for saying that water levels would get to the point where the 9/11 memorial would get flooded.
Of course, the footage immediately following was —you guessed it— the 9/11 memorial getting flooded due to 2016 rainfall. Another interesting tactic Gore used to highlight his plight was showing various firefights in war-torn Syria. The footage seemed unrelated to Gore’s message until he described how a huge Syrian drought caused by global warming set the motions for the ensuing civil war.
The film’s assortments of arguments make a monumental case against climate change deniers, but there are definitely some areas where it could have improved in an entertainment aspect.
There are a few scenes where Al Gore talks about his Presidential campaign or his family history. Sure, they’re nice distractions from the overall purpose of An Inconvenient Sequel, but that’s what makes their inclusion all the more puzzling.
In a film created to combat arguably the biggest problem affecting the world, containing scenes of Gore discussing his 2000 election seem unnecessary.
Minor problems aside, the film thoroughly informs many people about the global effects of climate change. Adding to that was the live webinar with Al Gore himself. He fielded questions from college students in states ranging from California to New Hampshire and answered them with a level-headed optimism that seemed like a relic compared to the daily tantrums emerging from the White House nowadays.
Surprisingly, Umass Dartmouth student and MASSPIRG Chapter Chair Nate Roberts was able to get a question answered as well. Through twitter, he asked “What is the best way to get our campuses to commit to 100% renewable energy?” And the audience nearly cheered upon realizing Al Gore was responding to a UMass Dartmouth student.
Moments like those set the tone for the night, where professors and students alike gathered for a screening of a great film and a webinar with a great champion of environmental causes. Hopefully, everyone will heed the messages learned from the film and help take on the fight for climate change as well.