Post-its and Ponderings
A middle school teacher's thoughts on science, technology and learning

Thursday, December 28, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Recently, I saw An Inconvenient Truth at my local library. I found it quite fascinating, although one of my students had previously described it to me as a "snooze cruise." Granted, for a 12 year old, watching 96 minutes of diagrams and charts might get a little boring. But the message isn't dull. In fact, I intend to show clips from the movie to my students in managable, discussable chunks. Not only will it foster a discussion on global warming, but it also provides a chance to incorporate some digital age literacy skills.

Many people believe the message is too important to ignore or even to pay for. Michael Eakes writes to encourage Al Gore to share his message freely. One educator responds to the "DVD Giveaway" with a similar request. Interestingly enough, I have very recently learned that someone DID post An Inconvenient Truth on YouTube. However, you'll have to watch it in parts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or watch the trailer. UPDATE: a UK weblog has aggregated the clips onto one site.) It will be interesting to see how long the posting persists, or whether it is in copyright violation.

Personally interesting is the controversy over the recent educator "DVD giveaway" offer. When Al Gore first approached the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) with an offer to give away 50,000 DVDs to educators, they refused. Since then, there have been a flurry of articles and blogs speculating on the NSTA's reasons. NSTA cites a potential risk to funding from key supporters and a desire to abstain from political endorsements.

Some people, including John Stossel, claim that Al Gore is all hype, but it doesn't change appearance of this issues in recent news: the rise in ocean levels, the endangerment of polar bears, breaking off of ancient ice shelves, more? In fact, National Geographic actually consulted with Eric Steig, an earth scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, to check the facts of the movie.

He says the documentary handles the science well.

"I was looking for errors," he said.

"But nothing much struck me as overblown or wrong."

Just in case we are on the verge of global disaster, maybe we'd better start making some changes.



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