Friday, January 26, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Good news for the staff, students and friends of NUS!

NUSSU SAVE (Students Against the Violation of the Earth) and CSC (Campus Sustainability Committee) is having a free screening of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth at a convenient place and time for the convenience of our busy schedules.

There are 2 dates at your convenience:

Date: 2nd February 2007 (Friday)
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 16, School of Business

Date: 8th February 2007 (Thursday)
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 28, Faculty of Science

In conjunction with the movie, speakers will also be lined up during the screening to share more information on climate change and global warming. Joesph Lai of Eart-h has also written a poignant piece on the forwarding of the doomsday clock that I will be arranging to circulate at the screening. It is a message akin to Al Gores but set in Singapore's local context. Hopefully that will serve as a wake up call to the staff and students in attendance.

"It was as if the '5-minute to Doomsday' fell on our ears like a pin drop.

You might retort: "What's the big deal? It's just symbolic after all."

Well, it all depends on how you connect it with reality and raising the stake at the same time.

Putting the proposition to you now, I ask: "You are not concern with 5 minutes to Doomsday, right? What if I were to tell you that you are 5 months to the day when a * green lung (a coastal forest with a size no smaller that the rain forest in the Singapore Botanic Gardens) will be destroyed in Sentosa to make way for the Intergrated Resort (IR). Are you still not concerned?"

* green lung -- the coastal forest is located between Siloso Road and the former Asian Village in Sentosa. It is where the iconic cycling trail transects. Some of the biggest Dragon Blood Trees, Dracaena maingayi, are found there. The area is slated for the development of the Integrated Resort (IR) which promises a psychedelic maze of gambling and entertainment.

- an excerpt from "Pinning Down Doomsday" by Joe Lai
Last year, the monkey had the opportunity to watch the movie at GV Marina during a sneek preview for tertiary students and educators, courtesy of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC). Below is a long overdue review by yours truly.

"An Inconvenient Truth is the highly anticipated movie featuring ex-USA vice president Al Gore. Presented in a seminar documentary style, the movie described causes and effects of global warming and climate change. For the skeptics, there is definitely no shortage of proof provided by the man with all the insider information ranging from previously unreleased military collected ice layer thickness data to shocking images of the disappearing ice of Kilimanjaro over the years.

It leaves little doubt in the audience’s mind after watching the movie of the reality of climate change and global warming. It may even come across as a dooms day message especially when the sight and sound of the collapsing glaciers and melting Antarctica ice shelf made me clutch the edge of my seat. It was as the trailer said, one of the most terrifying movies I’ve watched in years. Satellite images, ground photos, historical records and future projections leave no doubt that the glaciers are melting at an incredible rate. With the melting, sea level rise is inevitable and will be affecting low-lying countries like Singapore, amongst others!

However, for audiences unfamiliar with American history, politics and culture, certain references, expressions or even events in environmental history in the US may be foreign to local audiences. The data presented were also largely US-based. As the movie features footage of a lecture series that Al Gore has conducted in cities all over the US and even the world, it would be interesting to see Al Gore come to Singapore to present the topic in adapted for the local context. Of the world’s cities listed that Al Gore has toured with his climate change lecture, less than 5 were in Asia. His visit to China’s top institution, Qinghua University, the message of action against global warming was greeted with enthusiasm.

Many scientific concepts, graphs and charts were illustrated in clear and easy ways to understand targeted the layman in the audience. There were Simpson-style animation explaining greenhouse effect and global warming and animated frogs in boiling water to illustrate the importance of the precautionary principle. Memorable moments include Al Gore on an elevator that raised him up high above the floor to illustrate the exponential increase in carbon dioxide and temperature in recent years.

Interspersed between footage of the lecture are videos from Al Gore’s personal life, his family and his career in politics where much of it was spent advocating action against global warming and climate change. It was inspiring to know that there are politicians out there who are dedicated to the conservation of our environment and for the betterment of our planet. The movie clearly illustrated the important role between the government, politicians, companies, down to the end-users and consumers like us in the larger scheme of global warming.

Nonetheless, the movie ended off on a positive and inspiring note where a series of “things to do” rolled out before the credits. One of the things identified that you and I can do to play our part is to vote for an environmentally conscientious leader and the movie recommended that if such a politician is not available, we can always just “run for the position”! Regardless, the movie left us feeling motivated to do our little parts when we walked out of the cinema.

So what is the inconvenient truth? Who is it inconvenient to? Is it inconvenient just for the governments and big businesses or is it inconvenient for us as well? Watch the movie and find out the truth yourself. Catch it while you can during the short 2 weeks run in Singapore.

We can put an end to this “inconvenient truth”! More tips on how we can do so on the movie website at"

1 comment:

ricea said...

An inconvenient truth is a really good movie! i watched it last year and had to write a paper for it for a class.........
I love al gore~!!