The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Documentary delivers convincing message

Cassie Belek | Monday, August 28, 2006

Al Gore talking about the environment sounds like the least exciting premise for a documentary ever. Certainly not as appealing as those cuddly little penguins or that crazy Morgan Spurlock, who will eat anything for a multi-million dollar payoff.

But in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the former “next president of the United States” not only argues that caring about the environment is our moral obligation, but he does it with charisma, humor and a sense of urgency. In the film, Al Gore is actually kind of hip.

After the Supreme Court’s infamous and controversial 2000 decision that awarded the presidency to current Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, Gore retreated from the limelight to reflect on his dashed dreams and decide what his next move would be.

For the next several months, the public got brief glimpses of the former vice president, and the image wasn’t a positive one. Gore seemed to have lost his way and gained a beard. That’s when his wife, Tipper, urged him to travel with his slideshow again – a presentation that focused on the immediacy of global warming and the human race’s part in the destruction of the earth. Gore had traveled often with the slideshow before he became vice president.

The environment has been Gore’s choice issue since his college days – an issue he took with him to Congress and an issue that was lost among the chaos of Decision 2000.

With this documentary, Gore resurrects the global warming debate to convert the doubters, those who believe that global warming is a myth and part of the natural cycle of the environment. Gore presents scientific proof to convince the non-believer otherwise, and he does so without elitism. Instead, the film offers the facts in a clear and captivating way that will make even the reddest of the red rethink the issue.

While the documentary focuses on the immediate threat of global warming, it also follows the rocky journey of one man with one giant passion. We learn about Gore’s childhood and public life throughout the film as he expresses his undying love for the environment.

Gore shows us the land where he grew up and lets us listen to the sounds of insects, animals and running waters that were so familiar to him as a boy. He shows us a view of Mother Earth from outer space and allows us to reflect on its beauty. He then explains how this beauty will be lost if we continue our current path of destruction. Polar ice caps will melt and entire cities will be immersed in water.

These are not hypotheses. These are terrifying truths about the future we are creating for ourselves.

He takes us through his days as a Congressman and his sometimes fruitless attempts at changing the minds and hearts of Congress. We see moments from his campaign and the disappointing aftermath.

His need to feature so much of his personal life was a wise choice. In order to understand his devotion to this cause, we must understand how he arrived at the place where he was ready to share his message with the world.

Al Gore will not run for president in 2008. After seeing this documentary, a person will realize that this Al Gore – the one that can focus on one cause – is a more effective Al Gore. By creating “An Inconvenient Truth” and continuing his talks around the country, he is able to accomplish more by honing in on one, singular issue.

This free and charismatic Gore, unrestricted by election polls and a speech writing staff, can make a film that changes global warming from a political issue to a moral obligation. Gore can make the environment exciting again and renew our commitment to Mother Earth and our future.