Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hoopla, Hubris, and Hypocrisy

Okay, so you know what I think about "An Inconvenient Truth." And you probably have surmised from my previous post a generalization of my opinion on Al Gore. But some may be interested in a little clarification of the finer points surrounding my overwhelming negativity. 

Al Gore has the audacity to live a lavish lifestyle as well as fly all around the world, enlarging his carbon footprint to Bigfoot proportions, in order to tell everybody else to stop flying around the world - sort of. Many of his suggestions for us lowly folk have to do with "we the little people" changing our lifestyle so that our carbon feet look like they were bound as babies (like my interesting Asian analogy?). 

I do not personally need a big ole' footprint... I'm happy living the fairly simple life I live. I hop on an airplane and fly coach maybe once a year. I drive to and from work teaching at the elementary school about three miles from my house. And I occasionally drive for my job as a realtor, although nobody could accuse me of being any too busy on that front. I live about fifteen miles from the grocery store I choose to patronize, and I try to be organized about my shopping so that frequent trips are unnecessary (although I must confess this is more due to a lack of desire to frequent the grocery than a desire for carbon savings). This is the lifestyle I love. 

What blows me away about Al Gore is his whining about the end of the earth drawing nigh while he does nothing to reduce his own carbon output. This freaks me out not a little -- because if he truly believed what he preaches, I would imagine that he would actually be trying to reduce carbon emissions in every way possible. If the world is truly going to be burned toast soaked in water within twenty years, how responsible is Mr. Gore to just continue living his lifestyle (as long as he's purchasing RECs - or renewable energy credits). In spite of the RECs, he's still contributing the same amount to the supposed problem.

Al Gore is openly admitting that his agenda is a political one. Now, many people have deeply criticized the current Bush administration for trotting out 9/11 every time they need some sort of anti-terrorist legislation passed or whenever there's a looming election, accusing them of using fear to induce a desired result. I, too, think that the script could change somewhat from moment to moment -- but only because there are other, more recent terrorist activities which could be cited. However, it's important to note that very few people are criticizing Al Gore's catastrophic GW predictions as "the politics of fear" in spite of the fact that Al Gore's political agenda is based on a fear of what MIGHT happen IF he's right -- while the current Bush administration's political agenda is based on a fear of what MIGHT happen AGAIN if something isn't done to stop it. 

In short, I cannot respect Al Gore or his mission in light of two things: Either (a) he believes his own rhetoric and still does nothing about his lifestyle to change the eventual outcome of the planet or (b - and more likely, I think) he doesn't believe his own rhetoric but continues to voice it in the hopes of a particular political outcome. Either way, his character is questionable at best.

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