21 October 2009

Film Review: Not Evil Just Wrong

I had the opportunity to attend a world premier public screening of Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary about "global warming hysteria" hosted by the Republican Club at Washington College. The movie targets the belief that our planet is heating up, focusing on Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. It posits that Gore is the leader of an environmentalist movement intending to fulfill its doomsday prophecies by destroying the fossil fuel industry, subverting the global economy, killing millions of Africans, and shattering the American dream.

Co-directors Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney recollect exaggerated human risk scenarios such as Y2K and "mad cow" disease. They show the morbid fascination of schoolchildren who are affected by Gore's film and emphasize that An Inconvenient Truth has nine inaccuracies or distortions. They present intermittent misconceptions about global warming: we are living in an ice age and extra heat would be pleasant, the melted ice shelves are regenerating, polar bear populations are rising, and coal power plants are exhausting no pollutants.

Detour to Africa, where human populations have plummeted since environmentalists helped to ban DDT, resulting in increased vectors of malarial infection. McAleer and McElhinney explain this is the result of Rachel Carson's seminal ecological work Silent Spring, which Gore continues to champion. Cut to Vevay, Indiana, the heartland of America, where residents share their conviction that their way of life would deteriorate if the local coal power plant were to close. Environmentalists agree: the rapid transition to a non-fossil fuel energy infrastructure will be painful.

Now we can balance the liberal cadences of An Inconvenient Truth with a conservative rebuttal: the agenda among environmentalists to save the planet at the expense of humans—depriving nations of DDT to control population; scaring children with apocalyptic visions; attacking coal production in the spirit of bad science.

The selective scholarship can be dismantled as quickly as it was cobbled together.

Read Silent Spring to clarify that Carson advocated the use of DDT for insect control. Watch Everything's Cool for an alternative stance on global warming. Screen Kilowatt Ours to learn more about our relation to coal as an energy source. Peruse The Weather Makers to illuminate modern climate science. Watch I.O.U.S.A. to see the cost of taking more than we have; imagine more with what we have in Cradle to Cradle.

The film aims for an audience that sympathizes with its message. It does not invoke challenges to the thesis that we can continue living on non-renewable energy, which it shrouds in a fog of DDT and heartland pathos. It presupposes that its viewers will not ponder the agenda behind a film that promotes endless fossil fuel consumption.

Ultimately, Not Evil Just Wrong hopes to perpetuate a culture besotted with cheap fuel, and to that end, it's added more coal to the fire.

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