For all you global warming addicts or pessimists out there who have only heard one side of the story…relief is here at last. I know that nobody wants to read through a bunch of boring scientific journal papers (much less try to figure out what they are saying)…and truthfully, the truth can sometimes be quite dull too. But now there is a cure for both in the form of a short documentary film titled, “An Inconvenient Truth…or Convenient Fiction.”
Dr. Steven Hayward “stars” in this film…playing himself of course. The film is not glitzy and obviously cost and order of magnitude (or two or three) less than Al Gore’s environmental application of Gustave Le Bon’s principle of crowd control psychology found in the 1895 publication of “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind”, which justifies the use of heavy propaganda in controlling “irrational” behavior of any group of people – in this case, non global warming believers or those , particularly, who hadn’t given it a thought up to that time. (By the way, this is one of the same techniques that fascist leaders adopted back in the 20s to control the masses…including Hitler.) But, I digress. Through most of the film we are seated in an auditorium watching and listening to a presentation as is you were attending a seminar. No, there are not a lot of special effects other than the fade-ins or wipes between power point slides…and the occasional “talk while driving” shot. Dr. Hayward does use a ladder nicely in one scene, however, where Al Gore used a fancy, expensive, and energy wasteful cherry picker during a similar scene in his movie. Although both films tackle the same subject matter…and yes, Dr. Hayward is somewhat of a believer in anthropogenic global warming theory which makes the film’s points even more dramatic…they really could not be more conflicting, both in scope (razzle dazzle) and subject matter. What’s lacking in the “ooooh, aaaah” or “Oh my God!” department, is made up for ten times over by offering rational, logical reasoning and all of (or at least, more of) the facts as far as the simpler parts of of the state of the climate are concerned.
So, it’s not exactly a killer action thriller, but it’s not a fictionalized and overly dramatic “docu-drama” like “An Inconvenient Truth” either. It lies somewhere between the science journal articles that nobody wants to read and a Stanley Kubrick film that everyone wants to see, but once they do aren’t completely sure they understand it. OK, that’s an exaggeration…it really is like watching a seminar…but, an entertaining one. Dr. Hayward is quite a likable fellow and reminds me both (somewhat) in looks and personality of Andrew Zimmern – travel chef and star of “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel. (Don’t looking into that parallel too much…it’s only an observation and is meant as a compliment) Although not a climatologist, he is a master at gathering facts (with the help of Dr. Amy Kaleita and others) and is one of the co-authors (along with Dr. Kaleita) of the annual, “Index of Leading Environmental Indicators” which in part deals with the issue of climate change. The film has shown at only a few venues so far: April 12, 2007 in San Francisco, April 18, 2007 in Washington D.C., and April 24, 2007 at the Tribeca Film Festival (Robert Dinero’s baby) in New york City. You can also watch it on your computer by going to: http://www.aconvenientfiction.com/ .
Through the eyes of a staunch global warming skeptic (me) – who became the way I am because of my background in earth sciences…and also (mostly) because of the reaction of alarmists to this issue – I found the message quite refreshing especially in a time when you can’t hardly express yourself as a skeptic on this issue without being labeled “murderer”, or “uncaring earth hater…murderer”, or “right-wing future baby killing, animal extincting…murderer”, etc. As I said before, Dr. Hayward is a pro-global-warmer with an (levelheaded/reasonable) attitude. He takes somewhat the middle ground, shows us the facts and comforts us with the knowledge that we don’t know all that there is to know concerning climate change…far from from it. There is no consensus! In fact, if we as humans have added positively to the global warming equation…that we may be checked and balanced by many other natural factors. He also points out the importance (actually far more important than carbon dioxide) of other greenhouse gases in the overall equation…and that they are not human induced changes – so quit blaming ourselves! Dr. Hayward also gives us the straight skinny of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually says, means and what future (toned down) changes there will be in their reports. Most importantly, he seems to be genuinely sincere. He doesn’t wastefully and venomously attack Al gore and his following, but offers a reasonable alternative supported by the facts…and not just a portion of them. The message is somewhat middle of the road and therefore the results are somewhat boring…not at all like the doomsday scenario painted by our ex-second in command (or third, if you count Hillary). Dr. Hayward and Co. don’t have the means to take this campaign to the big audiences like Mr. Gore…and he (probably) won’t win any academy awards with it, but if an award were to be given for “best relative integrity in a documentary”…he would be a hands down winner. I just hope that PBS (I don’t think it is “showy” enough for the Discovery Channel…although maybe their sister channel “The Science Channel” could give it a go) or perhaps CSPAN will pick it up as it definitely deserves to be shown to a wider audiences that is willing (needs to) to listen.