There are not many screening invitations that excite us these days, but when this one came in we hit RSVP faster than the Williams sisters return serves.
It’s a decade since Al Gore’s Academy Award winning An Inconvenient Truth and the message could not be clearer or more urgent: It is time for us as a people to stop relying on the ‘powers-that-be’ to make the right decisions for our future and that of our planet. This is our home and if we haven’t already, it’s time to stand up, speak up, join the movement and #BeIncovenient.
Some have bemoaned Gore’s venturing into Hollywood territory, but it’s a shrewd move for someone who believes in empowering and educating people about climate change from the ground up. We see in the film, clips of a younger Gore holding his first training camp. Close to 50 people were being educated and trained in how to present the startling facts to a world not quite ready to respond. Today, Gore has trained more than 6000 people from around the world through his Climate Reality Leadership Corps. These Climate Leaders return to their countries and communities to share their knowledge and the message, not just that this is the time to act, but why and how. We watch his efforts in the Philippines following the super-typhoon ‘Haiyan’. Gore recognises the importance of arming those on the front lines, who have immediate and personal experience of the devastating effects of climate change, with the information and tools to push for reform at the most crucial of times – during the renewal and rebuilding phase. We see him wading through flood waters in Miami, driving the point that this is not a distant problem, unrelatable and happening far from home, but one fast approaching all of our doorsteps.
The film cuts deftly between the facts and data to the increasingly dramatic visuals of collapsing glaciers and floodwaters, movingly illustrating the very real effects of the temperature rises in the ocean, not to mention the thick, choking-inducing pollution in the air.
Gore gets personal, talking about his political struggles and disappointments and then, as with every hero’s journey he moves us onwards to celebrate the wins, in particular with regard to his behind the scenes dealings in encouraging support for the Paris Agreement in 2015, where global leaders unified and agreed to tackle climate change – an agreement recently exited by the Trump administration, but in a dramatic twist is being vowed to be upheld at state level by the newly formed United States Climate Alliance whose members currently represent more than a 3rd of the population. A prime example of the increasingly necessary shift of power in today’s unsettling political phase.
Though Gore admits there are times of despair he must push through, it is far from doom and gloom thanks to solar and wind, our renewable, clean energy resources that are making huge advances in their affordability and efficiency. A soaring bar chart displays the phenomenal growth in renewable energy production in Chile, getting the audience more excited than a Channing Tatum dance number.
While Gore briefly touches upon the latest bump in the road, the election of Trump and his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, his focus is of this being an awakening of the people, a call to action. Inspired by greatest historical shifts of humanity, he delivers a powerful speech citing the civil rights movement, women’s rights, gay rights and makes it clear, that it is our turn change the course of humanity, and with the legacy of those before us and for the generations to come, now is the time to ‘do the right thing’.
As a rousing montage closes the film, it is clear, the end is merely the beginning. The struggle is real, the science is there, but the change will only come when the people rise up, gloves off, prepared to ‘fight like our world depends on it…because, our world depends on it’.
See An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is in select cinemas Australia-wide from August 10th.
Love, Jem x