Scare Factor: Yep, You’re Scaring Me
The first time I watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I didn’t process much, other than the “Simpsons-eque” cartoon towards the beginning. Yes, I recognized it was about global warming. Yes, I knew Al Gore was in it and sort of who he was. But most of the facts and figures that Gore talks about didn’t stick with me. When I heard we would be watching An Inconvenient Truth in our class, I got really excited. I like documentaries and this movie in particular from what I remember, so yay! However, one thing struck me as the movie played on. The film is not that positive.
One could argue there’s a point towards the end, as well as in the credits reel, where Gore talks about things we can do to reverse climate change and global warming. But that didn’t do much to reverse the feelings of guilt and shock I received while watching animations of polar bears trying to find places to live or graphs predicted to go “off the charts” in the near future. In fact, many days after watching a portion of the film, my classmates and I would run to each other, screaming, “I don’t want to die! The polar bears are going to drown! I don’t want the Earth to burn!”
If the point of An Inconvenient Truth is to inform the general public about global warming and inspire them to take action, I’m not getting all of it. Some portions left me feeling like it’s already too late or that it’s all my (or America in general’s) fault. The way some of the statistics and predictions were phrased made the whole thing seem like, say, a doomsday prophecy. There are better ways of informing people about urgent issues, and shock tactics, while often successful, can be overdone. I do feel a bit inspired, but mostly I feel, well, scared.