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Film of the Year? An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

We live in a time of ecological grace. That’s easy to forget. Yet human civilization has thrived in a rare geological era of temperate climate, free of either frozen glaciers or heated water covering the planet. Climate is a delicate balance, and that’s the central theme of ecological concerns about human impact on it.

It was also the theme of Al Gore’s 2007 film, An Inconvenient Truth which received an Academy award, and later that year Gore himself received the Nobel Peace Prize. The film was impactful, but of course controversial, in part because of claims that sections of the United States eastern coastline, including New York City and the 9/11 Memorial, could be flooded by climate exacerbated storms and rising seas.

Now the sequel has appeared, and it’s startling to see how much things have changed in only a decade. The five hottest years on record occurred since 2010, glaciers are melting faster, tidal surges plus storms of unprecedented fury have flattened third world cities, and some low-lying islands are moving their populations.

And the US eastern coast? In 2012, water surged through New York City and flooded the 9/11 memorial, and fish now swim in Miami streets during high tides despite billion-dollar pumping projects.

There’s also positive news. Growing numbers of governments are concerned, the Paris Climate Accord is signed, and the growth of renewable energy sources has exploded. However, in some places, the issue has become so politicized that for many people, facts are not enough.

Still, it’s important to get the facts out, and An Inconvenient Sequel does that. It’s a more emotionally impactful film than the original for several reasons. First, the costs of climate disruption are now painfully evident, and the images of climate-related devastation and deaths are horrific. The sight of parts of major cities such as Miami and New York underwater is shocking. And finally, Al Gore is so much more impassioned, speaking emotionally and forcefully about the growing risks to our civilization and our planet.

Roger Walsh


theworldsgreatwisdom-coverThe World’s Great Wisdom: Timeless Teachings from Religions and Philosophies
by Roger Walsh (Editor).  Published by State University of New York Press

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What is wisdom and how is it cultivated? These are among the most important questions we can ask, but questions that have been routinely ignored in modern times. In the twentieth century, the search for wisdom was replaced by a search for knowledge as science and technology promised answers to life’s ills. However, along with scientific achievements came disasters, particularly the devastation of the planet through the accelerating use of modern technology. In an era drenched in data, a desire for wisdom has been reborn. Where can we go to learn about wisdom? The answer is clear: to the world’s great religions and their accompanying philosophies and psychologies. The World’s Great Wisdom makes these treasuries available. Practitioners from each of the great religions—as well as from Western philosophy and contemporary research—provide summaries of their traditions’ understandings of wisdom, the means for cultivating it, and its implications for the modern world. This book offers distillations of the world’s accumulated wisdom—ancient and modern, religious and scientific, philosophical and psychological. It is a unique resource that for the first time in history brings together our collective understanding of wisdom and the ways to develop it.

 

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