Should we #BeInconvenient? (Movie reflection)

Have you seen or experienced around 175 enthusiastic people on climate change in one arena to watch a movie on Climate Change?

It may not be too prevalent, but thanks to #PowerShiftMsia, the screening of Al Gore’s sequel movie on climate change “An Inconvenient Sequel – Truth to Power” was eventuated at TGV cinemas in One Utama Mall. The prequel of this movie was released back in 2006 and tried to permanently denounce climate change deniers. The movie was critically acclaimed by many, including climatologists from NASA.

Fast forward to 2017, the former Vice President of the US comes up with an even more engrossing movie, unlike the principal slideshow presentation in his previous venture. But what does the film have to offer this time around? To answer that question, the MYD members have some riveting reflections 

~ OUR THOUGHTS ~ 

 

Diyana 

“In this sequel, Al Gore made his point about climate change being real and urgent, as his prediction came true: New York (along with the 9/11 memorial) was flooded by ocean waters during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He went on a mission to persuade governmental leaders to adopt renewable energy, including India, a developing country that has been relying on coal energy. In many cases, he succeeded in convincing the leaders with promises of support. However, he seemed unable to persuade his own country’s leader, which is quite sad. America is one of the important players in the fight against climate change and yet its leader is not on board, as segments of his speech kept implying. But I guess that should not stop any of us from making a change. Overall, I think this movie is a good update on Al Gore’s work and I suppose it encourages us to follow his footsteps to demand country leaders to actually lead the way towards cleaner energy.”

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Lhavanya 

“The movie comes across as an afterthought on an important message. The message is not carefully thought out and the movie has not been meticulously crafted unlike the first of Al Gore’s movies. It’s more of a documentary actually, that highlights how Al Gore’s predictions came true and how wrong his detractors were and basically it was an Al Gore and Climate Change documentary.

Nevertheless, I will highlight it as a good rundown on the climate change scene in the U.S. From the impacts of weather disasters to the politics of it it sheds a lot of light on the scene. I will condemn it for being rather pro Global North and anti-Global South however. Al Gore portrays the Indian leaders in a very narrow perspective as the misguided bad guys who seem more concerned over economic development than climate change but fails to highlight the U.S.’s hypocrisy when it comes to this as well. For example there have been cases of the U.S. interfering in the solar energy market of the developing countries to prevent them from producing solar panels that are cheaper and more accessible to their people than U.S. made solar panels. Here is a good read on a WTO ruling against India to undermine its efforts to increase jobs in the solar panel industry and increase climate protections.

At the end of the movie I did walk out pledging silently to myself to #BeInconvenient but overall I believe Al Gore could have done a lot more with this ‘movie’. That would make it a more solid attack on climate change deniers and a film that can effectively rouse the international audience to take climate change seriously and spread the message.”

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Kelly 

“This movie emphasizes a lot about the truth of climate change, and the ending really moved my friend and I as it did mention about other movements that have occurred through history and maybe, right now, it’s time to have a movement about climate change! It’s amazing how powerful people can be, a call from Al Gore to persuade the solar company is all it takes for India to try to adopt more renewable energy. The Paris agreement and UNFCCC were also shown in the movie itself, displaying the importance of them when it comes to climate change. Leaders of countries such as China and others were also very concerned with the well being of their nations, displaying their progress to adopting a greener lifestyle.”

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Syaqil

“After watching the first ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, I find this documentary underwhelming because the lessons learned in the sequel may be obtained by solely watching the prequel. I would say that the only addition to this documentary was the Paris Agreement, whereby India was unfairly portrayed as the antagonist. Nonetheless, I commend on the message delivered by the documentary in trying to mobilise the public in championing against climate change. I say it’s underwhelming because as an environmental science student, the climate change 101 delivered by Al Gore has long been exposed to me. However, had the target of the documentary been towards to ‘non-converts’, those who are hearing about climate change for the first time and the daunting battle against it, An Inconvenient Truth 2 would be a sufficient introductory course.”

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Eugene 

“The documentary was very interesting. When former VP Al Gore showed the “Blue Marble” taken by the Apollo 8, it was really mesmerizing. It was absolutely beautiful. In the documentary, you can see how Al Gore had a strong passion. Being able to watch this documentary, it really recharged me. Al Gore was ready to go to every corner of the world for convincing people not to use coal/fossil fuel and switching to renewable energy. He had even visited India to meet the environmental minister and convince them to phase out non-renewable energy plants. When the minister questioned back, he stated that Al Gore shouldn’t be speaking to him and rather was concerned with his own people. If I was at Al Gore’s position, I wouldn’t have known on how to react. He keep on calling here and there to ask for help, so that India would agree to sign the Paris Agreement; his hard work was incredible. This documentary shows us on how every parties, people with power, NGOs, citizens and scientists have their role to play, like one of the quote from the documentary ‘Fight like your world depends on it’.”

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Thomas

“The 1st episode and now the sequel, both films convey the messages in a TED Talk style which revolves around Al Gore talking about the basic science and consequences of climate change but little emphasis on the “who is the actual culprit” and the “how”. When compared to the 1st episode, Al Gore has a grumpy tone in the sequel. The scene when he yelled “What were you thinking?”(to the politicians/climate change deniers) staples in my mind until now and I believe it will stay for quite sometime. Besides, I believe in every film a central antagonist and protagonist will be featured in order to create the required conflict. The conflict will then create excitement which would boost viewership and eventually, the box office sales.

In my opinion, India was placed as the antagonist in this film as they loom as an obstacle to deal with. So, our good guy Gore (or you can say US in general) came to the rescue by persuading the US based solar company to provide tremendous support to India. Ultimately, India agreed, Paris Agreement was adopted and everyone lived happily ever after. Too bad, this only happens in fairy tale.

There are always 2 sides of a story. The right to development is a fundamental principle especially for developing countries. It is stated in Principle 3 in Rio Declaration on Environment and Development back in 1992. For instance, many of the 1.3 billion Indian population needing their basic amenities (i.e education, poverty eradication, healthcare) were still unmet, meaning that development was a necessity. Thus, the importance of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) can be seen. Nevertheless, memories of myself attending COP21 just streaming through my mind throughout the entire movie. So yeah, I have mixed feelings about this movie. It’s complicated.”

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Varun

“The movie reiterated the collective struggle for demanding action against climate change. Al Gore instilled that climate action cannot be easily fulfilled without the help of governments and insisted on local action. Significant portions of the film focused on India’s renewable energy and issues related to it. There was a clear pressure on India to do more by the west- even Sunita Narain, who featured in a cameo, mentioned that shifting blame towards developing nations was unfair. India was shown to be delinquent. Interestingly, the film depicted the ‘phone call’ from Al Gore to SolarCity’s CEO for the company to provide solar technologies to India. This looked improbable; with all the negotiations, a mere call couldn’t have done the job. There was a strong hint that the western fear of developing countries becoming developed would prevent the achievement of the 2 degree celsius goal. On the contrary, this movie was another instance of climate change not being solely about climate change as science. Nevertheless, the film was also reminiscent of the floods at my hometown in Chennai. Overall, the show ended towards the optimistic side. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel but there are too many stalactites blocking the path.”

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The overall view of the Malaysian Youth Delegation members is that the movie showed glimpses of promise for a sustainable future, but with actions getting hypocritical, we mostly remain ambiguous. However, the scope for development in the movie is considerably high.

On behalf of MYD, we would like to thank all those who made it for the screening and commend #PowerShiftMsia, United International Pictures Malaysia and TGV Cinemas for materialising the event!

 

Compiled & Edited by: Varun

 

 

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