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The Day After Tomorrow: Remediating Global Warming

2285 words - 9 pages

Global warming, an increase in the average of Earth’s temperature, has been occurring since the 1800s. A majority of climatologists conclude that human activities are responsible for most of the warming. The main human activities that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land (NASA). Since wealthier industrial countries use most of the world’s fossil fuels, they not surprisingly contribute most to this phenomenon. Europe, Japan, and North America – with roughly fifteen percent of the world’s current population – are estimated to account for two-thirds of the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere (Gotham Gazette). Even though it comprises less than five percent of the world’s population, the United States is the single-largest source of carbon from fossil fuels – emitting twenty-four percent of the world’s total carbon output (NASA).
German film director, screen writer, and producer, Roland Emmerich works mostly in the action, science fiction, and disaster genre. A common theme throughout many of his films involves the destruction of western civilization. Emmerich uses a combination of heart-stopping visual and sound effects to attract the audience, which consists of movie-goers interested in science-fictional and suspenseful movies. Since Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow contains an obvious environmental message, his audience also includes scientists and people interested in the topic of global warming. He selectively chooses special effects in order to create or portray a certain feeling or moment he wants the audience to experience. In the film, Emmerich uses scientifically inaccurate exaggerations of the effects of global warming in order to make his message “more exciting” (Blind Assassin). Although the film illustrates some effects of global warming predicted by scientists, such as rising sea levels, more destructive storms, and disruption of ocean currents and weather patterns, it depicts these events happening much more rapidly and severely than is considered scientifically plausible, and the theory that a "super storm" will create rapid worldwide climate change generally is unheard of within the scientific community. In the film, Emmerich strategically obliterates American landmarks, deliberately picks out the main victims of global warming, and incorporates scenes that use computer generated imagery. By utilizing these filming methods, Emmerich creates a quality disaster genre film.
Emmerich specifically chooses Americans to be the main victims of the supernatural effects given rise to by global warming. His message is made immediate: Americans are the primary contributors of global warming, and therefore will be the main victims of their own actions. By targeting Americans, Emmerich appeals through pathos and engenders a special relationship between the audience and the movie. Emmerich intends to make Americans realize that they are causing global warming....

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