“IT’S PROBABLY best to ignore the film’s political subtext and simply concentrate on the message…”

This is yet the most poignant review I’ve read on the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth that I saw on a free screening at an SM cinema last Earth Day (April 22).

While critics rave about the passionate delivery of Al Gore’s noble cause to “save the planet” or criticizing him for the “exaggerated” facts and predictions he made about the consequences of global warming, we should rather focus on the most important point in the film. We are responsible for the preservation of our only home. It is not so much of a political issue, but a moral obligation, Gore said. Global warming is never a far-fetched phenomenon. It may be happening now and we can all sink to the bottom of the ocean if we do not act.

An Inconvenient Truth is an Academy award-winning environmental documentary, which reviews the scientific evidence for global warming, discusses the economics and politics of global warming, and the unimaginable consequences of the global climate change caused by carbon-emissions from burning coal, gas, oil and clearing forests, while relating scenes from the former US Vice President’s life (why critics tag it as highly political). The film premiered last year at the Sundance Film Festival where other hard-hitting documentaries like Super Size Me (2004) received acclaim.

Like some Elijah or Nostradamus, Gore prophesies that if global warming continues within the next 10 years, the polar ice caps will melt drastically, making sea levels rise and drowning people living in coastal cities of the world. UST, of course, is on a coastal city. The phenomenon would also cause more intense heat waves, more powerful storms, droughts, death of humans. Leading animals may be driven to extinction. Doomsday, practically.

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For this reason, critics accuse the documentary of sensationalizing data since some scientists debunk global warming. They say that global warming is a natural phenomenon as we have already experienced four ice ages and global warming since the earth was born. Even the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services say that the piercing heat this summer, recorded as the highest in two years, cannot be attributed to global warming, but to simple warming of the climate.

The debate may go on, but must we neglect the real-world implications of the importance of preserving the environment?

Making our planet a habitable place to live is a non-partisan concern, but the government and some sectors seem more concerned with the politics of it.

In the country for example, the Renewable Energy Bill, which aims to lessen dependence on energy from fossil fuels by developing alternative and cleaner sources like wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass energy generators, is gathering dust in Congress for almost a decade now. The bill, which is now for a third reading in Congress, has only been approved at the committee level and is back to zero in the next Congress.

Earth is like a “lover.” If we abuse it, then it will leave us like any lover would. The difference is that we do not have any other “lover” to be with when the Earth leaves us.

In the coming mid-term elections this May, choose for responsible leaders who will give the next generation a better chance of living in a more healthy and habitable environment.

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