An Inconvenient Truth is an Academy Award-winning documentary film about climate change due to global warming, presented by former United States Vice President Al Gore. I had the chance to view it today at a forum organized by the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) at the UiTM Campus, in Shah Alam.
Never heard of it? Well, you’re not alone. Apparently, many Malaysians have not either. And that includes our politicians and leaders of society. Talk about being an ignorant lot! That’s right, us, Malaysians!
OK, then, let me give you a preview. In the film, Gore reviews the scientific evidence for global warming, and describes the consequences of global climate change if we humans do not do get rid of the inertia against taking any meaningful action.
Gore comes across as is a very genuine environmentalist. He first became interested in the issue of global warming when he took a course at Harvard University with Professor Roger Revelle, one of the first scientists to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Later, when Gore was in Congress, he initiated the first congressional hearing on the subject. That is how committed this politician is.
After the film, four panelists spoke briefly on the subject of climate change. A pertinent point to note is that Malaysia has already seen its average temperature risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the period before the onslaught of greenhouse effect.
The big question is what can planners, and other professionals too for that matter, do to make a difference?
It was agreed that professionals such as town planners, engineers, architects etc. can do a lot to contribute towards minimizing climate change, as well as, reducing the adverse impacts of climate changes as can already be observed.
The key to success depends on our ability to take action now - and fast. Closely related to that is the need for us to tackle the issue in an integrated approach. “Multi-disciplinary” is the buzzword. For climate change is too real and big an issue to be looked at from just one angle. It affects all facets of our life from social to politics and the economy, as well as the whole spectrum of our environment, i.e. built and natural environment.
Note: The film An Inconvenient Truth won the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.