Sunday, January 28, 2007

Keepers of the Earth

Is this not the sweetest possible picture? My Elliot, The Earl of Puppydom. How can anyone say pugs aren't cute? Along with seals and otters they have to be one of the cutest animals on the planet. Shameless plug for pugs.

I haven't reviewed any movies or books for a while. Not because I haven't seen any or read any, but mostly because none of them have been particularly earth shattering. Along came Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Saw the film first, available from Netflix and probably your local Blockbuster as well, a British production starring Joan Plowright (a perennial favorite) and Rupert Friend (for those in the know, he is Keira Knightly's beau and Orlando Bloom lookalike)...and then I read the book by Elizabeth Taylor (no, not the actress).

If you must choose one or the other, take the film. The movie expands the characters and their relationship a bit, and in a way that I think was exceptional and remained true to their personalities. I promise you will fall in love with Ludo and Mrs. Palfrey. If you have elderly parents, or have recently lost a parent or grandparent, this film can be difficult to watch. You will need to have a tissue handy, regardless. For me, Joan Plowright reminds me a great deal of my mother, and I found that particularly difficult.

Next comes the real dirt, or scoop. The real reason behind my blog entry.

Oscar nominated documentary film of the year, The Inconvenient Truth

How many times in your life have you had an epiphany? How many times in your life has something happened to you that is so profound it consumes your thoughts for days or weeks after? A book you read, a person you met, an event you witnessed. Maybe it changes your life completely from then on....

This film has been an epiphany for me. I felt compelled to do something after seeing it.

I consider myself to be a very intelligent person. True, I abhore newspapers, and watch the news only rarely. Newspapers are filled with ink that they want me to read, not the truth. Local news is just such fluff. The most depressing and terrible news they can find, the most moronic, or the cotton candy sweetest. And, they keep shoving it at me repeatedly, at 12, 4, 5, 6 and 10 pm. World news is better, but currently gives me feelings of dejavu. Watching the footage out of Iraq is like reliving my childhood when the news was filled with a far off place called Viet Nam. Palm trees have been traded for desert vistas. The world is consumed with celebrity. The public seems more interested in the children conceived by Brad and Angelina, Tom and Katie, the size of J-Lo's bottom, or the revival of Britney Spears career than any of the really terrible things going on in our world.

All around the sky is falling but Chicken Little is too busy watching Deal or No Deal and American Idol.

Despite my aversion to newspapers and news, I keep up. War in Iraq. Politics and wallstreet. Entertainment and the weather. It's all there, in my periferal vision. Global warming for instance. I knew what it was, I had the basics. I recycle so much Mike gets mad because the bins are always overflowing. I try to buy green, eat organic, and make my footprint on the earth a bit smaller. I voted for the development of wind powered energy for Colorado in the last election.
My eyes were open, or I thought they were. It would be more accurate to say I only had open eyeballs painted on my closed lids ala Cannibal Captain Jack Sparrow.
And then I watched An Inconvenient Truth a week ago. My eyes have been opened. Opened so far I need sunglasses to protect me from the glare of the lightbulb that went off. (a long life bulb too, you know, those really expensive ones that cast that blue glow and kind of flicker when they start?)

This film is the story of Al Gore's passionate life long interest in the environment and his attempt to educate the world about Global Warming. One review of the film said it was nothing more than a great platform for Al Gore to reenter the political field. I disagree. I never got that from the film at all. Yes, I could have done with a bit less Al Gore and a bit more about the effects of Global Warming on the world's wildlife, but the film was not a bid for the next presidential election. The film was a very straightforward fact filled presentation of what Global Warming is, its effects, and what we need to do to stop it. There is no question is my mind that this is what Gore was put on this planet to do. Steve Irwin was a wildlife warrior, Al Gore is an environmental warrior.
I thought I knew about Global Warming. I didn't know a thing. Not really. I had no idea we had reached such a state of emergency. I never connected the drought and problems in Darfur to Global Warming. This film has been marketed as "the scariest film you've ever seen." The trailer and posters have been made to capture your attention quickly. The film is in fact subdued. Quiet. The subject matter is strong; the inconvenient truth; frightening, but throughout Al Gore's voice is soft and reassuring, fatherly. The facts are presented to you in a calm, clear and methodical way. The end is in fact quite hopeful.

I'm going to make this so easy for you. You don't have to get in your car, use gas, or even leave your computer chair. You can of course go out and rent the film as I did. I highly recommend this method. There are 30 minutes of updated information in the DVD extras. I'd suggest you not watch it alone. Share it. You're going to need someone to talk to when its over. You can purchase a copy, as I did, because you want to show it to others. You can buy the book by the same name and read it.

(FYI The DVD is sold everywhere at the same price, $19.99. It was sold out everywhere I looked. Finally located 3 copies at Walmart in the new releases. It is hard to find because it is packaged in a thin, recycled cardboard cover. The entire product is made from recycled material, and a portion of the film proceeds go to support the bipartisan climate effot, The Alliance for Climate Protection. )

You can view the entire film online, total run time 1 hour 35 min:

You can view just Al Gore's presentation. The picture and sound quality is not great.

An excellent interview with Al Gore about the film:

You can hear Al addressing the audience at TEDtalks. This was taped prior to the film's release, but the information is interesting:
I told you I'd make this easy!
Please put your political opinions aside. Global Warming is world wide. It is bipartisan.
This is not a political issue, it is a moral one.

This far out weighs the war in Iraq, terrorism or illegal immigration. We have an obligation to not only our fellow man, but more importantly to the planet earth and all the living things that inhabit her. Watch this film if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. There are little ones coming after you and we owe them a world and a life.
Watch this film if you read my blog. I don't care if you read it for its humor, the knitting news, the ocean theme, or just because its on the list of newly updated blogs. Watch this fim if you care about animals and the environment. Watch this film if you love science, there are graphs and flow charts and oodles of pretty colors. Watch this film if you love photography, the photos are heatwrenching and beautiful. Watch this film if you have strong religious convictions. God gave us this planet and the birds and beasts to care for. Religious leaders around the world are getting behind this fight.

Watch this film for yourself, for your family.
Watch this film for me.

From space, Earth is nothing more than a glowing pixel dot in the vast darkness. Yet everything that has ever happened, has happened here. All of history. Every piece of art was created here. Every piece of music heard here. Every momentous event in your life, in anyone's life occurred here. Every love. Every life. Every death. It's the only home we have.


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