Former Vice-President Al Gore’s follow-up film to 2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” updates the American public on the progress and setbacks the fight for climate change has experienced in the past decade.
There’s no question that the film has an agenda, but it’s an agenda that Christians can get behind, especially after Pope Francis issued Laudato Si in early 2015. Mr. Gore informs us about the real trouble our planet is in as the continued use of oil and gas relentlessly flood our atmosphere with harmful emissions and pollution. He wants us to be aware of the situation so that we will take action, personally and collectively, so that the home we call Earth will be able to sustain life for generations to come.
“Truth to Power” begins with a trip to the glaciers of Greenland which are imploding on themselves as rising air temperatures cause unprecedented levels of melting. Where does the water go? It goes to the ocean where the rising sea levels cause continual flooding and displacement of peoples all over the world. Mr. Gore takes us to India, where it’s so hot the streets melt causing people’s shoes to stick to the asphalt. We also visit the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan was most destructive to the poor of those islands. After witnessing the need for climate change, we join Gore and his team at the climate change conference in Paris in 2015 and see how he worked with hundreds of others for the resulting Paris Accord, where leaders of 195 nations, including the United States, together committed themselves to work toward eliminating greenhouse emission.
Although the film ends with the former Vice President expressing hope for the future and that people will continue to recognize the need for change and take action (for the film’s website which suggests ways to get involved, click here), we know that a major setback occurred with the election of Donald Trump. On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Accord. We can only hope that the rest of the world leaders will honor their commitment to combating global warming and keep forging ahead, even without the leadership of the United States.
For believers, God calls us to care for the home on which we live. One of the seven major themes of Catholic Social Teaching is care for creation. We do not care for creation because it’s a great cause to get behind or fits some political agenda. We care for creation because of the inherent dignity of the human person, created and loved by God. For people to live to their full potential, we need to be able to breath unpolluted air, drink clean water, and have an Earth that will be inhabitable for future generations. Advocacy for climate change isn’t just a cause, it’s a moral imperative.
So, whether or not you understand the all science behind the need for climate change (I sure don’t) or whether or not you agree or disagree with all of Mr. Gore’s statements in the film, I ask you to join the Church in praying for our Earth and for all those who work to make it clean and safe for all humankind. The following prayer can be found at the end of Laudato Si (n. 246).
A prayer for our earth.
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.