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Learning About Global Warming Through "An Inconvenient Truth"

1672 words - 7 pages

An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim that depicts Al Gore’s campaign to increase awareness of global warming. I have always heard of global warming, but have never taken the time to look at the available evidence and develop my own opinion. This documentary not only helped me achieve a greater understanding of the causes of global warming, but especially allowed me to comprehend the consequences humans face if nothing is done. The film consists of Al Gore giving a slideshow presentation to an audience with additional scenes that emphasize the impacts and consequences of our actions that have led to global warming.
I have known the basic theory behind global warming since grade school, but since I have continued to learn more about the sciences, it is only appropriate to revisit the topic of global warming. Gore opens his presentation by describing how only a few decades ago, it was common knowledge that the continents are so large that they could not possibly move. This assumption prevented the scientific community from pondering the possibility that South America and Africa could have at one time been conjoined despite their respective shapes. Time has passed, and we now accept the conclusion that millions of years ago these massive continents were together as one and at one point split and migrated in opposite directions. Gore claims that we cannot let our assumptions about global warming affect our ability to interpret the evidence that scientific studies have put before us. I wanted to follow suit, and used this opportunity to drop any assumptions that I may have had about global warming; letting the objectivity of scientific observation assist me in forming my own opinions about global warming.
Gore continues the presentation by describing the work of Roger Revelle, one of his college professors, who was among the first scientists interested in global warming and the carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. Revelle measured carbon dioxide levels in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a regular basis for many years. He presented his data to Gore’s class only a few years after he started taking measurements, but it was already clear in the 1960s that the carbon dioxide levels of our planet were on the rise. I found it very interesting that the carbon dioxide level rises for about half the year and falls for the other half. This is because plants absorb carbon dioxide in the spring and summer, but are not present to absorb the same quantity of carbon dioxide in autumn and the winter. Gore then describes his political efforts over the last few decades as unsuccessful. Gore describes many small measures that the government took to help the environment; however, he considers these failures because the carbon dioxide level continued to rise and at a faster rate.
The primary reason I find Gore’s campaign convincing is the simplicity of his arguments. He shows the audience a series of photographs...

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