Dinner and a Movie
The summer release of former U.S. vice president Al Gore’s documentary on climate change was made even more notorious by the appearance of comments in the world media by Mr. Gore on Alberta’s oilsands
KK: Have you ever read the notes to The Final Solution? What happened is, after the war, they found the notes of the meeting. And the meeting didn’t consist of the presidents; it didn’t consist of all the generals. It consisted of the second-level officials – the deputies – and they had all the elements of the military machine that constituted Germany. If you went into any other meeting, it would be like in a boardroom. But it was very interesting how they manufactured consent. They had already planned that they were going to use gas chambers and, essentially, silence the members of the justice system from raising any ethical issues related to that. We human beings have a habit, or ability, to do that. Remember, Mr. Hitler was democratically elected. It wasn’t like there was some coup d’état and he came to power. People voted him in. So, there is this human element to engage in that kind of thing. The point is that there is also another human element that allows us to question that. And Mr. Gore, Mr. Suzuki – I have to think of a conservative here – Mr. (Brian) Mulroney, after watching a show on apartheid on TV decided we’re not going to support this. Right? Somebody has to make a decision and say, “OK, I’m going to take leadership. I’m not going to allow the system to make the decision for me. Since I am a leader, I will help engage the system in making a decision” . . .
On fear and misunderstanding
AN: One of the things that we’re dealing with here is fear. Fear is an enormous factor. If we do decide to take the climate change issue seriously, what is the consequence for our lifestyle? I think the second thing that is very important that I hear when I’m talking to people about climate change is misunderstanding. They believe that Canada, in particular, will benefit from climate change, that we’ll get a milder climate, perhaps like Arizona. This is something that, continually, I’m coming across: lay people don’t actually understand the risks involved. They think climate change will be gradual and that it will be a warming, that it will affect them positively and that it will affect our climate positively. They don’t understand that this could be a very rapid change and it could be in the opposite direction to what we anticipate and that this change will take place quite probably within their lifetime.
KK: I agree with everything that’s been so eloquently stated by my two colleagues. And let me add one other element. I’m a father. I have two children. Of course, I’m going to think of what preserves their well-being. I’ve reached that point of mid-life and now it’s their life I’m thinking about – what are the elements we can give for them to continue to have a meaningful life in Canada, which is our permanent and definitive home?
AO: So, then, maybe one final statement from each of you on your general impressions of this film and of its potential to keep us all moving to make the choice to choose the fear of a lifestyle change over the fear of no life at all.
SG: I find the film very accessible and it’s encouraging to see a film that can speak to a broad audience. It’s one of the top ten most popular films out this week, which speaks to that accessibility. The content is very interesting. I think I would like to own a copy of this movie. It’s what I aspire to do when I communicate these environmental concepts to a corporate audience.
KK: I think it speaks to the accessibility; it also speaks to the citizens. It speaks to the citizens of the United States and it speaks to the citizens of Calgary. That theater wasn’t empty. That theater was three quarters full, which means that there is a desire to know (about climate change); it’s just the venues for that desire might not be so accessible, but here’s one which is accessible. And this evening speaks to the desire of the two editors of Alberta Oil, and for that we’re grateful. I know I am.
AN: I would agree with that sentiment. I think this is an excellent opportunity to reach out to the public and perhaps to people who have a peripheral understanding of the climate issues in a way that perhaps broadens their perspective and understanding of what’s in the works in the future for us and what the concerns are from a scientific point of view. I think that the movie really addressed that quite well in a simplified manner so that it is not indigestible by the public.