He walks like John Wayne. He talks like Dr Phil. Who is he? He’s Al Gore, the man who once said, “I used to be the next President of the United States.”
That didn’t happen but something else did. He found a life outside politics. A life of lecturing on ecology, on the way to make our world safer. Today he describes himself as a ‘recovering’ politician. The more time that elapses, he jokes, the less likely he is to regress.
There was a time I thought he was a colourless man. That was before An Inconvenient Truth, the film he made eleven years ago. It told us we were misbehaving, that we were leaving too many carbon footprints for comfort. It told us the 9/11 memorial site could be flooded. We laughed – but then it happened.
Time is running out. We’re at the tipping point. The ice caps are melting. Cities are turning into rivers. The sun is drying the ground, creating forest fires.
Gore decided it was time for another wake-up call. This film is it. It’s as bold a sequel as you’ll get.
A lot has happened since An Inconvenient Truth. Terrorism. Syria. The Zika virus. We might think these things aren’t related to global warming but in Al Gore’s universe, or multiverse, everything is related.
“We should leave the planet better than we found it,” says a mayor from Texas in this fine film. He’s a Republican but is against Donald Trump on the environment.
Trump backed out of funding the Paris resolve on climate change. “Solar costs too much money,” he says, “and it takes too long to get it back.” Money has been behind his attitude to this as it has been to every issue since he took power.
It’s a myopic viewpoint. Trump is one of the biggest setbacks Gore has faced since he went on his mission to improve our lot. He’s trying not to let it get to him.
Instead he focuses on the good things that are happening – in France, in Chile, even in Africa where one might have imagined the resources weren’t available.
A couple of years ago a woman came up to him and said, “If you dyed your hair you’d look like Al Gore.” She was thinking of the black-haired Gore of An Inconvenient Truth. The Gore of An Inconvenient Sequel is grey.
It isn’t only his hair that’s changed in the interim. So has the world. For the better and for the worse.
We’re at a fork in the road. Donald Trump has taken one direction. We need to take the other one. For all our sakes. Because there’s no Plan B.
Pope Francis has even pleaded with Trump to change his mind on this. He didn’t listen. He never listens.
What will he do if the hole in the ozone layer gets bigger? There are no pockets on a shroud.
**** Very Good