An Inconvenient Truth: The Powerful Oscar-Winning Documentary That Shook the World

"An Inconvenient Truth" is a 2006 documentary about climate change featuring Al Gore (see Al Gore quotes) that won two Oscars, one for Best Original Song, and the other for Best Documentary. 

I was interested in climate change since the end of elementary school and the beginning of high school, but watching this movie in grade 8 (Secondary Two) was probably the biggest event that really sparked my interest in climate change.

After this film, the IPCC and Al Gore were given the Nobel Prize for "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change" (Source).

Also, Al Gore would later start Climate Reality and trained thousands of Climate Leaders worldwide, including me, in 2013 in Chicago. I also attended a global online training in 2020.

I would definitely recommend this film, and I have displayed ten movie clips from the movie below:

An Inconvenient Truth

10 Movie Clips from "An Inconvenient Truth"

1. Science of Global Warming:

Many people assume that the Earth is so big that it is impossible to have a negative lasting impact on it. Al Gore explains that the most vulnerable part of the Earth's ecological system is the Earth's atmosphere because it is so thin. Al Gore says that Carl Sagan would state that if you had a large globe with a coat of varnish, the thickness of that varnish relative to that globe is like the thickness of the Earth's atmosphere compared to the Earth itself. It's thin enough that we are capable of changing its composition. Al Gore explains the greenhouse effect and how greenhouse gases trap heat; the more we emit greenhouse gases, the more heat is trapped and hence we get climate change. The greenhouse effect is not necessarily bad because it historically helped keep the climate stable enough for life to prosper; however, when there are too much greenhouse gases it will affect millions of species.

2. None Like it Hot:

This fun animation explains global warming in an entertaining way. It shows how greenhouse gases trap heat hence causing an increase in global temperatures. 

3. Weather Balloons:

In "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore explains how he had a professor named Roger Revelle who was one of the first scientists to propose measuring carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Al Gore says, "They designed the experiment in 1957. He hired Charles David Keeling who was very faithful and precise in making these measurements for decades. They started sending these weather balloons up every day and they chose the middle of the Pacific because it was the area that was most remote. And he was a very hard-nosed scientist. He really emphasized the hard data. It was a wonderful time for me because like a lot of young people I came into contact with intellectual ferment, ideas that I'd never considered in my wildest dreams before. And he showed our class the results of his measurements after only a few years. It was startling to me. Now he was startled and made it clear to our class what he felt the significance of it was and I just soaked it up like a sponge. He drew the connections between the larger changes in our civilization and this pattern that was now visible in the atmosphere of the entire planet and then he projected into the future where this was headed unless we made some adjustments. And it was just as clear as day."

4. Glaciers:

In "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore shows how glaciers have melted over the years. This video shows images of glaciers over time, which shows dramatic changes in their size. The melting of glaciers around the world is quite alarming. He mentions how over a billion people rely on freshwater flowing from the Himalayas and they would be greatly impacted if that ice were to melt.

5. Drastic Rise in CO2 Concentration:

In a dramatic way, Al Gore shows the drastic increase in carbon dioxide levels over time and shows where it is projected to reach in the future. Afterwards, he makes an important statement: "Ultimately, this is really not a political issue so much as a moral issue. If we allow that to happen, it is deeply unethical."

6. Hurricane Katrina:

Al Gore explains how Hurricane Katrina got stronger quickly as it moved over warmer waters. As the water temperature increases, the wind velocity increases and the moisture content increases. Essentially, climate change will lead to stronger hurricanes. Al Gore talks about the devastating consequences of that hurricane and how it caused billions of dollars in damages.

7. Arctic Ice Caps:

In "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore explains how the Arctic Ice Caps are melting. As the ice melts, less sunlight is reflected, which causes the ocean to absorb more heat. This causes the melting of the Arctic ice to speed up. Al Gore says, "So there is a faster buildup of heat here, at the north pole, in the Arctic ocean, and the Arctic generally than anywhere else on the planet."

8. Disease Emergence and Extinction of Species:

Climate change will also worsen outbreaks of disease. In the climate change guide, there are articles about:

Al Gore mentions how species are going extinct and how coral reefs are bleaching. See ocean acidification to learn more about coral bleaching.

9. Greenland Melting and Sea Level Rise:

The melting of ice in Greenland is extremely important as it will raise sea levels around the world. The combined effects of the melting of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica would have devastating effects. In "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore explains how there could be devastating impacts of environmental refugees.

10. U.S. Contribution to Global Warming:

Al Gore shows how the United States is the country the most responsible for historical carbon dioxide emissions. Al Gore also shows the frog analogy. Basically, if a frog enters boiling water it will quickly escape. However, if the frog is in the water and the water is slowly turned to boiling, it will just stay there. Humanity is acting like that frog; because climate change is gradual we do not act quickly. It is important that we wake up and take the climate crisis seriously since it is an existential threat.

Best Original Song

The song "I Need To Wake Up" by Melissa Etheridge appears at the end of "An Inconvenient Truth," and it is a powerful song that won the Oscar for Best Original Song in the 2007 Academy Awards (movie made in 2006).

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

There was also a sequel made in 2017, called "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" and you can see a trailer below:

Further Reading and Sources


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