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An Inconvenient Reality

I just saw the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” — and was that ever depressing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie/documentary. It’s well done, with what is really pretty dry subject matter presented in an interesting way that will hold your attention. And to say that the message is a rather important one is clearly an understatement.

What I found depressing is that here in the year 2006, why does a movie like this even have to be made? None of what is covered is exactly what one would call “news”. As the movie points out, the scientific debate over global warming was over a long time ago. This movie would have been “news” back in the 1970’s or even 1980’s — but today? Heck, the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated back in 1997 — that’s going on ten years ago! We should be so far down the line in actually doing something about global warming by now that these issues should all be givens for every single citizen. And yet most Americans today are oblivious to the problem, either that or in total denial.

It seems like all of our problems as a nation come back to this issue of “Just how stupid can we be”? Or is it just that we as a society just don’t want to face facts, face reality? I had an interesting personal experience the other day that I think summarizes things pretty well. I was at the drive-through bank and across the street there’s a church that has a dumpster set up for recycling newspapers. While I was waiting, a mother drove up with her two children, with a couple of stacks of old newspapers that they deposited in the dumpster. So at one level, this is a nice story about a mother teaching her children to be responsible citizens, working to safeguard the environment. But there was something dreadfully wrong with that picture. They were driving one of these monster SUV’s, and sure enough there was a George Bush bumper sticker on the back. And it hit me, there you have the perfect example of what’s gone so wrong in this country. Here this lady is driving the most environmentally unfriendly vehicle ever invented by man, and voting for the most environmentally unfriendly President the world has ever known — and she’s recycling newspapers? Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! We can recycle every newspaper ever produced, and it won’t do a damn bit of good as long as we drive gas-guzzling SUVs and continue to elect the village idiot to public office. But alas, so few people seem to understand this. They make token gestures that I can only assume make them feel better and help them to sleep at night — but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, they are going to do what damn well suits them best, and to hell with the rest of us and particularly to hell with future generations.

Facts and reality are just too damned inconvenient for such a greedy, self-centered society.