Carter and I just saw An Inconvenient Truth Tuesday night. Afterwards, I dreamed that I confronted George Bush on his environmental failings. Clearly I’m still working through some of my anxiety over the facts presented in the movie. It’s an amazing film and, at least for now, has inspired us to stay away from the mall and keep plugging away at our attempts to simplify our lives. I wish the Al Gore who made this movie had shown up for the election in 2000. We would most definitely be living in a different country and maybe a different world right now if he had.
I left feeling pissed at our current administration (working through that anger in my sleep I guess). The science certainly seems compelling to me–I mean, if you’re into that kind of thing…you know, believing what 900+ scientists have to say. As a mom, I just couldn’t stop thinking about my children. What kind of mess are we leaving them with? 50 years is just the blink of an eye–and we could be living, or trying to live, in an almost uninhabitable world. Our children will still be so young, and our future grandchildren will just be venturing out into the world. What will be left for them to see? How is it that this isn’t front page news every single day?
When I came up with this crazy consumer-free project, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get evangelical, wouldn’t go around preaching simplicity, wouldn’t go screaming about environmental sensitivity in the middle of Wal-Mart . . .but I walked out of that movie wondering how everyone isn’t losing a little sleep over this issue. Does it feel too overwhelming to think about? Are we really more concerned about our big cars and big houses than what the world will look like in our lifetime? Can’t we all try just a little harder?
One of the points debated (and confronted in the film) is that environmentalism hurts the economy. I’m quite sure that our family’s 6-month spree (anti-spree?) alone will cause no economic harm. We certainly haven’t gone to the extreme of people like Matt Watkins (“Buy Nothing for a Year” http://dominionpaper.ca/environment/2004/12/19/buy_nothin.html) or the group called the Compact in CA who pledge to purchase nothing (with the exception of socks and underwear) for an entire year. Gore offers a great visual of bars of gold on one side of a scale, and the earth on the other. He says “over here you have bars of gold. And over here, you have the whole earth. Bars of gold. The entire planet. Hmmmm…” In the end, if we all make a few sacrifices, isn’t it worth it if we still have our have our planet to live on?
Gore offers a message of hope (without mention of a lock box) with a number of ideas that every family can do to make a small difference. Visit http://www.climatecrisis.net for ideas, facts and figures. And please go see this movie! It opened my eyes and encouraged me to stay true to our pledge–at least for now! I’m stepping off my soap box now and will try not to return…