Inconvenient truth

Three Honest Reflections from Watching “An Inconvenient Sequel”

It’s been 10 years since Al Gore’s landmark film, An Inconvenient Truth, succinctly made many everyday people aware of the very real climate crisis we were facing. This week, I had a chance to watch the follow-up movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” and reflected on the progress, and challenges, we’ve seen in the past 10 years.

My own awareness of environmental health related problems had been awakened a year earlier and as a result, my family was embracing lots of new personal choices. I remember seeing the first movie and realizing that no matter what I did to change how we ate, how we reused and recycled, changed what we drove, and how we powered our home that the climate crisis required big, bold audacious solutions that scale. That movie was just one of the many inspirations for leaving an organization I loved to become part of a relatively early wave of  “climate entrepreneurs” when I founded WeSpire [formerly known as Practically Green].

This week, as I watched the follow-up movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel” and it prompted the following reflections.

  1. This has been a really hard 10 years. Although it’s been filled with some landmark reasons for hope and celebration, like the Paris Accords and the huge boom in solar globally, we’ve also experienced profound discouragement and challenges ranging from the lack of funding for cleantech innovation to of course, our current president’s position on just about every topic related to the environment. I was so appreciative of Al Gore’s honesty and candor about how hard it’s been.  If nothing else, it made me feel like part of a club of fighters and survivors who are prevailing in spite of daunting odds.
  2. Everyone who is fighting for a cleaner, more just and sustainable world will be on the right side of history. This point was one of the most poignant and passionate parts of the movie. Al Gore is someone I think of professor-like, but not necessarily a Martin Luther King-esque inspiring speaker. However, as he so passionately and eloquently likened the climate movement to the fight for civil rights, women’s rights, and marriage equality, I almost jumped out of my seat and cheered.
  3. One line that really stood out, particularly in light of this week’s events, was when he said that we not only have a climate crisis but a democracy crisis. From his TED Talk, he says, ”As important as it is to change the light bulbs, it is more important to change the laws. And when we change our behavior in our daily lives, we sometimes leave out the citizenship part and the democracy part. In order to be optimistic about this, we have to become incredibly active as citizens in our democracy. In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to solve the democracy crisis.”

This week has been one enormous reminder that our generation has an absolutely critical mission to restore trust in democracy and in our ability as a nation to come together to solve really big problems.  We need to join together as businesses, as cities, as towns, as neighbors and friends to insist and ensure the equitable and fair treatment of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, and ethnicity.  We can – and will -- solve the climate crisis in part by asking everyone to push their business, their town, their school and their state for a transition to cleaner sources of power. The UN Sustainable Development Goals have also given us frameworks and targets for the other goals that ensure a better and more equitable world for everyone.

We’re excited by the commitments that towns, cities, states, and businesses have made to move forward towards achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To do our part in accelerating this movement, WeSpire has launched 18 campaign that align with the UN SDGs to support building awareness and inspire people to take action. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help, support or guidance. We’re always willing to lend a hand to companies trying to tackle these important issues.