Friday, July 14, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth"

You'd better start heading for higher ground. According to Al Gore, if the earth continues to warm, ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise by at least 20 feet (that's 6.10 meters). I recommend you all go see his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." It raises some great questions, provides excellent facts in an accessible format and is generally well-produced.

The last 10-15 minutes, however, faltered. We are told that the US brought freedom to the Americas... how insulting! Social change is presented as a series of events- a simplistic notion. And of course, the old stickler that gets under my skin: that population growth is one of three main causes of impending environmental crisis. Never mind consumption patters and the distribution of power and exchange relations around the world.... nope, it's about those pesky third world types having too many babies! PSSHTTT!!! I'll leave it at that. Enjoy the film!

If you'd like to read up on climate change, the CBC website provides some info on Global Warming and of course, organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver and the International institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), out of Winnipeg, have excellent resources.

Now there has been a ton of backlash in the media against the idea of climate change, despite the fact that every single scientist, in every single peer reviewed journal, unequivocally supports the notion of global warming caused by human induced CO2 emissions increases!! And, while it's good to have skeptics out there, and some may deny that the end of civilization is nigh, nobody can tell me that the sickening haze that surrounds every major city in the world is good for us and the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere is not related to the rise in respiratory diseases globally.

SOME FACTS: the WHO estimates that "Urban air pollution- of which a significant proportion is generated by vehicles, as well as industry and energy production-– is estimated to kill some 800,000 people annually." According to our Minister for the Environment, Rona Ambrose, "In 2004, British Columbia's Provincial Officer for Health reported that premature deaths resulting from air pollution in the province are between 140 and 400 per year. He also said that air pollution may be responsible for between 700 to 2,100 hospital stays and between 900 and 2,700 emergency room visits each year."

You know those huge sweeping shots of cities in movies and TV shows? The ones taken from helicopters on the rare sunny day when the morning wind has managed to make the city look clear? clean? pollution free? Maybe producers should stop using those images and start showing their audience what these smoggy places actually look like most of the time.

PHOTO: the view of Vancouver from Dog Mountain, Seymour Provincial Park- click the picture to enlarge it.

No comments: