Please Watch Years of Living Dangerously

I’m one of those skeptics that watched An Inconvenient Truth and doubted Al Gore’s assertion that global warming was happening. Specifically, I thought he made a leap at the end of the documentary, connecting global warming to human activity without providing sufficient evidence, hoping that his PowerPoint presentation, loaded with subjective appeals, alongside the objective evidence, would clear the hurdle. As a teacher, I’ve shown the film many times to analyze effective and ineffective argumentation, persuasion, and use of fallacy. To me, it seemed that Al Gore was championing a political cause, creating the liberal version of the Apocalypse, since gathering political support while using the Biblical version had been so successful for conservatives. Al Gore seems to have an ego, which I admit also makes me skeptical of his ulterior motives.

Today, I am 100 percent convinced of the validity of climate change attributed to human activities. I am much more sympathetic of Al Gore’s presentation, but I still hold blame that his role in the film may also contribute to the denial that is still promoted by Republicans and the Fox News channel. In today’s brutally-split political climate, climate change is firmly viewed as a liberal Democratic cause, and today’s Republicans are quick to block every cause that is promoted by the other party. The environment in general is dismissed as a political cause by Republicans, and the Environmental Protection Agency is obviously a government department that Republicans have targeted for reduction or outright dissolution.

It wasn’t always this way; only very recently have Republicans really made denying climate change an integral part of their platform. Fox News provides further evidence that their network creates the Republican platform by denying climate change on most of their broadcast programs. Climate change is unsound science…The Koch brothers should be applauded for creating jobs instead of attacked for blocking climate change legislation…think of the economy…blah, blah, blah, and BLAH! Anything to appease the masses that climate change is not happening…just turn to Fox News to confirm that liberals are uninformed whackos that will go to any lengths to make Republicans look bad. I’ve developed a fairly strong resistance to most of Fox News’ rhetoric, but when the talking heads there start yapping about climate change, I suffer from a serious case of transformation from Jekyll to Hyde, complete with convulsions, twitching, and loud roaring.

I’m mostly concerned because, yet again, those of us that want a better Republican party—those of us that have trouble admitting our Republicanism at parties—are forced once again to deny our own party because their absolutism has become too dangerous. I admit climate change is happening (not that I believe in it…it’s that I know it is happening!). I see the increased rhetoric to dismiss reality in lieu of profiteering (Drill, baby, drill! Build the Keystone pipeline! Solar energy should be blocked! Big Oil is our friend!). I fear the consequences of ignoring climate change, since our weather patterns are obviously becoming more volatile and people are dying in the present. I’m concerned for the future, and that shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

My sarcastic reaction to promotions for the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously: “Great! If Republicans dug themselves in because of Al Gore, then I’m sure a bevy of actors and actresses promoting a show about climate change will change their minds.” I also assumed it distasteful that Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Arnold Schwarzenegger should be the ones to change the masses’ minds about this, since celebrity actors are sometimes too influential on the public…but whatever works! I believe that the single biggest problem with climate change is convincing the deniers to change their tune, and if more people listen to the facts about climate change because Indiana Jones or the Terminator asks them to, then so be it.

After watching the four released episodes to this point, I have become a zealous advocate of the show. I was impressed by its similarities to effective film documentaries and its educational format. I appreciate the show’s multi-pronged approach to examining different aspects of the science, showing the multiple consequences of climate change, exposing the need for non-partisan attention to the matter, illustrating that it is a global matter and not a strictly American problem, and proving that climate change is a result of human culture and activity. The celebrities do not appear self-promotional, and I am appreciative of their advocacy and education. I’ve watched it with my children, and I promote the show as it was advertised: a most important program that everyone should watch.

Years of Living Dangerously makes a better argument for climate change than An Inconvenient Truth does. Denial of climate change is just as dangerous as continued fossil-fuel dependence. Educate yourself. Years of Living Dangerously contains a powerful statement that effectively teaches about the reality of climate change. Please take the time to watch it, and consider the effects climate change will have for your children’s planet.

{If you appreciated this writing and want to help support the continuation of this blog, please consider sending a donation to:

Scott C. Guffey
P.O. Box 53
Michigan City, IN 46360

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