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.


15 responses to “Scare Factor: Yep, You’re Scaring Me”

  1. laurenm0017 says :

    When I was watching An Inconvenient Truth I did become more frightened than motivated. I agree if the purpose of making the movie was to inspire people to take action it didn’t illustrate it well. I think that more of the movie should have included ways to prevent these tragedies from happening.

    • alliej0017 says :

      Totally agree! Although leaving the suggestions until the end of the movie is a good idea (resembles Pandora’s Box–hope at the end of all the sadness), but the pessimistic tone of the movie somewhat overshadows these suggestions.

  2. isabelled0017 says :

    I feel the same way! like i have done everything to cause this. And it scares me…. ALOT!!!! Thanks for your post!!

    • alliej0017 says :

      You’re welcome. I agree; guilt was one of the main feelings I felt (along with shock). Nobody wants to feel guilty, so we all want ways to reverse climate change, or at least lessen our impact.

  3. granta0017 says :

    I totally agree with you Allie, when I was watching An Inconvenient Truth I was a little nervous about what was happening.

  4. brannona0017 says :

    I agree. This movie portrays global warming almost as a problem that we can’t fix. It is totally negative and gives almost no reason or encouragement for us to do anything. I think if the movie had spent more time on telling people what they could do to help it would have had a better affect.

    • alliej0017 says :

      Great point. Although I don’t think the movie is completely negative. Remember the suggestions during the credits? Those had some ideas that were worth thinking about and trying. Also, I think there was a part towards the end where Al Gore talks about steps we can do, in the slideshow, to reduce our CO2 emissions. But great point altogether.

  5. chelsear0017 says :

    I agree with you all. It is quite interesting to see a “would be” president really buckle down and focus on global warming. Many presidents like Obama have that near the bottom if their lists. We really need to take care of our home first before we really focus now on our economic and society problems. I think the current video we are watching now really shines a new light on the question we are destined to answer.

    • alliej0017 says :

      You bring up a great question. What are the current presidential candidates’ (President Obama and Mitt Romney) views on the environment/global warming? What about their running mates? I agree we should start taking action, and maybe bring these issues to the attention of our local representatives.

  6. carolinem0017 says :

    I agree with you, I almost feel like they are scaring us maybe a little too much. In the movie, they made me feel like we are too late, and the earth will not be around much longer. However I do think something can be done, and our government needs to make this a big priority. We need to protect this earth, not destroy it.

    • alliej0017 says :

      Yeah. While AIT was a good wake-up call, perhaps they could have made the movie’s tone a bit more sympathetic at times. That way it wouldn’t sound like a doomsday prediction as much.

  7. alexc0017 says :

    I do understand that the point of the movie was to scare us or guilt us into doing something. Sometimes it can be a good way to motivate people. Unfortunately in an Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore scares us almost too much saying a lot of land will be flooded leaving millions of refugees, that the weather will just get worse and worse, and that the heat will rise to where it has never been before. Although people are making good points about the hope at the end, it might be better if there were more suggestions of how to help specific things throughout the movie.

    • alliej0017 says :

      Exactly. They paint the picture that we’re on a downhill rollercoaster that’s unable to be reversed. You make a great point.

  8. christinel0017 says :

    I agree. Sometimes when you show someone the truth, it can be a good wake-up call. However, in An Inconvenient Truth, I think it was a little overboard with the scare part. Maybe if Al Gore gave us more suggestions on how to help rather then just scaring us, it would be a more positive movie.

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