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Globalized Warming

Gabriella Pebbles
October 19, 2007
Globalized Warming
(X) In this paper I will show that the issues of global warming have been misrepresented by some and cleverly utilized by others, (Y) by giving an overview of global warming as it is portrayed by the media, (Z) so that people will learn to search for scientific information regarding important issues for themselves. (P1) The media’s constant over-coverage of global warming is desensitizing the public to the very real problem of global warming. (P2) In the movies, An Inconvenient Truth and The Day After Tomorrow, global warming was portrayed in two very different ways.
Desensitization and Demoralization
As American citizens, we are bombarded everyday with information about the world. Because global warming is one of the recent hot topics, it too has been incessantly reported on in the news. By being told the same thing about global warming day after day, the media is creating indifference. In fact, this morning as I was getting ready for school I turned on the news channel for the weather, and within two minutes, their lead story reported that the government had cut out portions of a global warning document. The document, which examined the health risks of global warming, had been fourteen pages and was edited to a mere six. If we were told truthfully the findings of scientific climate researchers without deletions and omitted data from outside parties with an agenda, I think that we would be able to create awareness without developing a lack of interest.

God Save the Truth!
Hollywood tries sometimes to incorporate current issues into its films, but usually ends up diminishing the issue by pushing other public-friendly plots to the forefront. In The Day After Tomorrow several sub-plots are combined to make the movie a love story, a family breaking apart, and a badly represented White House controversy. The main basis of the movie, though, is supposed to be global warming, but the writers have added some absolutely incorrect “facts.? Some of the “facts? include the idea that mass global warming would occur in just a few days with almost no warning which is ridiculous (Kolbert 55). I do agree that once triggered, it will have a massive domino effect; it is still unfeasible that eight tornados would form over Los Angeles without anyone knowing beforehand. The Dick Cheney look-alike vice president shows complete disregard for the issue even after being given several warnings, sounds familiar, no? Although Hollywood makes some thoroughly laughable pieces, there are some people who are willing to try to make their movies as factual as possible. Daniel Percival tried to be as accurate as possible in his depiction of dirty bombs in the movie Dirty War (Scholmeyer 261). In The Day After Tomorrow, the director, Mr. Emmerich, is clearly trying to make a political statement, but not sticking strictly to the facts. In The Day After Tomorrow, there are some scenes that make me proud, and others that make me incredulous. In the movie, the destruction caused by climate change, the mass exodus into Mexico is an ironic twist that is very clever. In another scene, the scientists in the movie seemed to all be completely shocked at the occurrences; at the NASA research center, many scientists were just watching the televisions as Los Angeles was ravaged by tornados, which seems very unlikely. The research was done well, however, on the formation of storms. In the movie, a model of how hurricanes function was shown with a description of the causes of their behavior. There are more examples of the movies hits and misses, and altogether it was fun to watch, but as a source of information, the movie fails. The directors’ purpose was to create a movie that entertained, and to show his opinions of the governmental response and global warming itself. While watching, I was entertained, but I thought their message was sluggish, and didn’t have an effect. If they had created a more realistic movie, I would have been impressed with their knowledge, and really felt they were trying to make a worthwhile public statement. Their distortion of the facts made me regard the movie as purely entertaining, the science was a joke; the idea that you could “outrun? ice is absurd (Schollmeyer 263).
The Day After Tomorrow portrays the government as inactive, unwilling, and indecisive. This portrayal may represent the powers at the top, but the state and local governments have done their part as shown by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, with a number of cities conforming to the Kyoto Protocol. Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth, used some factual evidence, statistics, and scientific analysis to show global warming in its true form. It was clear, concise, scientific, and easily understandable, but it too had flaws. For example, the movie was also an auto-biography, a lot of which had nothing to do with global warming, the fact that he lived on a farm one half of the year and a cramped apartment the other half, was that necessary? Recurrent quips and clips referring to his loss to Bush the second, made it seem like he was trying to implicate “had I been president we wouldn’t be where we are now!? He repeatedly made stabs at the Bush administration and kept emphasizing what they had failed to do, but didn’t go into the details of their motives. Throughout the whole movie I saw Gore’s portrayal of himself as a nature-loving free spirit, a protector trying to serve the nation, and on the opposite side of the spectrum was his portrayal of Bush, stupid, overbearing, and stubborn. If he had enlightened his listeners about their side of the issue, it would have increased his credibility, and created knowledge about the topic. There are serious economic concerns with the Kyoto Protocol, which haven’t been brought to light in this movie. The more important of which is inefficiency. Power plants take decades to become useless; cars are on the road an average of a decade, and any progress made would be diminished because of the mass amount of coal production allowed to exist in China. Also, the main production of carbon emissions comes from mass produced farm animals, which was never once discussed in An Inconvenient Truth (Connecting the Dinner Plate to Global Warming).
A Book about the Weather
In the book, Field Notes on a Catastrophe, there is a concise, direct pattern to the authors’ writing which makes it incredibly easy to read with a light overview of global warming. It gives a summary of the current changes that are occurring due to global warming. It is effective in teaching about the issue if you have very little exposure on the subject. However, considering the publicity given to global warming, only schoolchildren needing entry-level insight into the problem would benefit from reading this book. The book portrays climate change as a problem that is slowly but surely ripping our ecosystem apart. The disappearance of the gold toads, the increasing heights mosquitoes are now able to reach, and much more are just a few of the examples listed in her book (Kolbert 73-84). Regarding the Kyoto Protocol she writes about Paula Dobriansky, the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and how the woman avoids the issue by either repeating a sentence that has nothing to do with the question, for example, “Are there any circumstances under which the administration would accede to mandatory caps?? her answer, “Our approach has been predicted on: We act, we learn, we act again? when asked “how urgent the problem of stabilizing emissions was,? she repeated the same mantra (Kolbert 151). This passage gave me the impression the government has no real way of disproving the fact that climate change is impending and dangerous, but that due to economic reasons, they have ignored it and are trying to make others do the same.
My Mission Statement
If the people who try to inform the public about important issues such as Global Warming, include a little of each of the above components I think that we could globalize the issue and make it one that everyone understands. If there were a book, movie, or article that combined these factors, I think a lot of people would try to change, it would allow them to make the choice for themselves whether they will act on the problem or not. Entertainment, clarity, truthfulness, and options on what we could do as individuals are some of the most important things that should be broadcast to the public. The media has failed in its responsibility to educate and serve the public. We should all work harder to make sure the media becomes a more reliable source.

Works Cited
1.) Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes From a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006
2.) The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 2004
3.) An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Lawrence Bender Productions, 2006
4.) Greene, Brian, Ed. The Best Science and Nature Writing. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
a.) Schollmeyer, Josh. Lights, Camera, Armageddon.