Unfortunately, having kids means I don't get to sit back and do nothing about it.
By Ben Bull
Published February 09, 2007
I'd been avoiding Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' like a trip to the dentist. It was, I suppose, inevitable that I would eventually see it - I write for a sustainable development web-site after all - but still, I wasn't quite prepared for what Al had to say.
Like many people, when it comes to global warming, I'd been in denial. As Ryan McGreal noted in Climate Change Denial on February 2nd, I'd been switching between ignoring the problem and hoping it would go away, to acknowledging it but deciding "we're screwed anyway, so why should I care?"
I guess that's why it's called 'inconvenient'. It is inconvenient - bloody inconvenient. As if I don't have enough on my plate bringing up four kids (I think that eight billion population projection at the end of the film might have something to do with me - sorry Al) and trying to hold down a steady job, now I have to save the planet too? It's too much!
For those of you who haven't seen the documentary yet, I do of course recommend it. The essence of what Al is trying to say, in his usual sober, schoolteacherly manner, is that our out of control carbon emissions are causing our little blue ball to heat up, and fast.
Here's what I learned from Mr. Gore's presentation:
Al makes many of the same points that historian and doom-and-gloom merchant Ronald Wright made in his thoroughly depressing 'A Short History of Progress'. The world's population is booming (projected to be over 8 billion souls in the next 30 years), and humans have screwed things up before and survived, but this time we might not be so lucky.
To his credit, Al ends the lesson with a little chink of light, poking out through the thin sheath of ice. "We've had these problems before," he explains, reminding his audience about a little problem called the hole in the ozone layer, "and we've come through. We can do it again".
I don't like Global warming and I wish it would go away. Hell, if I didn't have kids I might very well decide to do nothing about it.
I do have kids and even though in my darkest moments I wonder whether the human race really will pull through on this one, I have no choice but to believe that we will. And I have no choice but to do everything in my power to try and avert this disaster.
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