Thursday, November 13, 2008

an inconvenient admission

I've talked with classes about climate change for years but I have never watched An Inconvenient Truth. By the time the movie came out I was pretty sure that much of the science that would be discussed would be stuff I'd already heard about. Plus, anybody who knows me very well knows I'm famously impatient with movies.

Today's Al Gore-style slideshow presentation by Bill Bradbury was full of new images for me. I don't know how closely the slideshow follows the movie, but the images were moving, sometimes beautiful and of course sometimes shocking. I was pleasantly surprised at the injection of local information and our presenter's enthusiasm and interest in his audience. Nicely done, Mr. Bradbury.

But--having heard the criticisms of the movie--I was on the lookout for overgeneralizations or convenient (yet terrible) coincidences, and I have to say I thought I recognized a few instances of that. It's a dificult challenge and serious responsibility to bring these messages to people, and I hope that two things happen: 1. The integrity of the presentations will go from good to great by continual scrutiny of what gets said and shown, to be sure that no exaggeration is allowed to creep in, and 2. The message will change as the audiences hearing it become more informed and more accepting of the science, from a persuasive "this is actually happening and you should be concerned" speech into a "here's how we can make change."

2 comments:

Kate said...

Yes, yesterday presentation has been on my mind as well. Unfortunately, it didn't really do it for me. Some facts were misrepresented and the interest of the audience not managed. I am in the process drafting some manner of communication to the Secretary of State, more on that later.

My bees store their sweet honey in houses build like carbon likes to build rings. Why?

carol said...

I remember he or his handler asked for comments, "What worked and what didn't" in the presentation. I think they could only benefit from some critique.

I think a certain Biology professor ought to be asked why bees make their hives on a hexagonal plan. I really have no idea, but I think there's a Ph.D. thesis in the question if nobody has the answer.