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ScreenWise: Paul Meekin satirically reviews the documentary ‘Cool It’

Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Photo from www.3.bp.blogspot.com

Folks my age have grown up with lots of noise about impending doom, war, the economy, school violence, violent video games, and global warming among others. We grew up thinking this was the way to go about things, screaming at the top of our lungs like some crazed sports fan because the most in-yo-face wheel gets the grease. If you don’t believe me, here’s a brief list: Occupy Wall Street, The Tea Party, GLAAD, The Anonymous Hacking Group, The West Borough Baptist Church, Sister Wives, PETA, Evolutionists, Creationismers, Raiders fans, and on and on and on. Every one of these examples takes a hard lined stance of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us!” screaming at the top of their proverbial public relations lungs for media attention and the chance to tow the company line. And this is fine, these examples all fall in the realm of ideology and point of view. Some mean more well than others, but if they want to scream real loud, hold their nose, and jump up and down, they can.

The problem is that, unfortunately the media is sort of like a coddling mother, and will pay attention to these sorts of PR temper tantrums, instead of giving perhaps more reasonable and compromise friendly groups the time of day. This is particularly frustrating with Global Warming. Ever since Al Gore came on the scene with An Inconvenient Truth, there’s always been this sort of mentality that if left unchecked, climate change is going to turn our happy little society into something out of a Mad Max movie. And because being afraid is the least good reason to do anything (Patriot Act joke here) we have a bunch of rich liberals running around screaming at the top of their Real lungs that the world is coming to end and the science proves it!

…Except it doesn’t. The documentary Cool It streaming on Netflix Instant, is here and ready to pacify us with a message of “Calm the heck down, folks, the world isn’t ending.” This rational take on global warming is one we’ve needed for awhile. The film follows statistician Bjørn Lomborg as he informs us of a couple of things. First is that, believe it or not, things are better today then they have ever been. Water is cleaner, more people are educated and healthy, living longer than ever. Lest we forget, the flushable toilet is barely a century and a half old.

The second thing is that the current world environmental plan is to spend $250 billion to lower the temperature of the Earth about .01 degrees. Lomborg says this is a colossal waste of money. He argues that the same amount of money can be spent adapting to the changing climate and to research sustainable and clean energy. He outlines this with real figures, real numbers, and real examples, and this portion of the documentary, is frankly engrossing.

What’s weird, is that for a movie with a theme of cooling it, and being rational, a great deal of this film is spent harping on Al Gore for being the main reason there are so many very loud and uninformed would-be environmentalists running around drinking $6 bottles of water while cleaning up a lake. Lomborg does a point by point rebuttal of Al Gore’s film, and I’m grateful for it.

From there we detour into actually researching all sorts of interesting alternative energy sources, including wind, solar, electric, wave power, and more. The movie is at its best when it’s soothing us with facts from real scientists at real institutions: statistics and dollar figures. The polar icecaps aren’t melting. The water level isn’t going to rise. Hurricane Katrina wasn’t a global warming created disaster.
It’s… nice.

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