Watching Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth at one sitting led me to the following conclusions:
- The film is excellent and has much to teach college lecturers, both about the analysis of complex issues and about the the use of words & images in presenting an argument.
- Gore’s argument is weakened by his homepage link to a Buy Now button on climatecrisis.net – regardless of how he shares the profits. It makes him seem like a greedy evangelist on TV.
- Gore’s list (below) of Thing’s You Can Do Now, is ultra-trivial and may have set back the cause by encouraging politicians to believe that little change is necessary. The film mentions population growth but it is not on the list, doubtless for ‘political’ reasons.
- The best commentary on the issues comes from Justice Burton. He said the film is ‘broadly accurate’ but listed nine inaccuracies
- A landscape approach to urban design can do more to combat climate change than Al Gore can imagine. We can and should:
- use all roofspace: for vegetation, gardens, power generation or the daylighting of interior space
- plan cities for extensive use of human-powered and solar-powered transport (above image courtesy TouringCyclist) – but see my recent post on White Commuting
- compost as much as possible within the boundaries of each and every property
- infiltrate as much water as possible within the boundaries of each and every property
- make all buildings energy efficient, by orientation, vegetation, insulation, durability, daylighting, avoidance of lifts and escalators etc
- design new homes so they can become home offices, when eCommuting becomes the norm, with a smooth transition from indoor to outdoor spaces with differential climatic and temperature characteristics
For landscape architects and urban designers thinking about new jobs and professional opportunities in sustainable urban design, the above are very convenient truths.
Another ‘inconvenient truth’ ignored by Gore, is that the environmental impact of bottled water has been calculated, by SGWA, to be 1000 times greater than that of tap water. So ban it, as a small town in Australia has done: Bundanoon, in New South Wales. Perhaps the American language needs a new word: an ‘ingored truth’