An article in National Post, an online journal, reports the experience of one Ontario, Canada, teenager with Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” First McKenzie saw it in world history class. Then he saw it in an economics class. Then his world issues class. Finally, his environment class. Four different classes. Four different teachers. Four different showings of the movie.
“I really don’t understand why they keep showing it,” McKenzie, who last name was not published, was quoted by the Post. “I’ve spoken to the principal about it, and he said that teachers are instructed to present it as a debate. But every time we’ve seen it, well, one teacher said this is basically a two-sided debate, but this movie really gives you the best idea of what’s going on.”
McKenzie has taken the time to educate himself about the global warming (or climate-change) controversy, and says that the Gore film is too one-sided to be taught as fact. According to National Post, McKenzie’s mother was outraged to find out that the movie was being presented as fact. “This is just being poured into kids’ brains instead of letting them know there’s a debate going on,” she said. “An educational system falls down when they start taking one side.” The Post points out that even some scientists who side with Gore’s message are uncomfortable with “the liberties [Gore] takes with ‘science’ in the film. Though University of Colorado climatologist Keven Vranes said that Gore was right to publicize the message about global warming, we need to be careful “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”
More students may have McKenzie’s experience in the future. According to the National Post, last month Vancouver’s Tides Canada Foundation and a local eco-friendly courier firm bought DVD copies of “An Inconvenient Truth” for every public school in British Columbia. Climate Learning, a non-profit group in Vancouver, is well on the way to raising enough money to buy copies of the film for every high school in Canada. “I think it’s important for high schools to have this film,” says Will Cole-Hamilton, the group’s director, quoted in the National Post article. “Our objective,” he says, is to get them into schools by September.”
The National Post reports that the move to get the film into schools is not limited to Canada. England has made the movie part of the public school curriculum. The government of Spain is buying the movie for all of its schools. Private donors in Australia are buying copies for schools in that country.