Wall-E, Al Gore, and the Fate of Civilization


Sara and I finally used our Famous Players gift certificates to catch “Wall-E” just now, but with all the pandemonium surrounding “Batman: The Dark Knight” we probably could have snuck in for free. The film was, in a word, wonderful. Sure, the robots were cute, but the force of the ideas in that movie was something you would expect to find in a classic hard science fiction novel rather than a Disney blockbuster.

When the movie came out everyone wondered whether the conservative hate machine was going to go on a rampage the way they did with “Happy Feet”. There were those who passed off the film as leftist propaganda. But strangely, Wall-E started to become a hit among other conservative bloggers who were won over by the little guy’s crusade against a large oppressive organization and (even stranger) his love of showtunes. In fact, some left wing bloggers decided that they were really clever and decided to bash the film for the plastic merchandise that it generates or its linkage of obesity with environmental problems.

The director, Andrew Stanton, did a lovely job of sidestepping the issue in an interview with New York Magazine.

“I knew that I was going into territory that was basically the same stuff, but I don’t have a political bent or ecological message to push. I don’t mind that it supports that kind of view — it’s certainly a good-citizen kind of way to be — but everything I wanted to do was based on the film’s love story, the last robot on Earth, the sentence that we first came up with in 1994. I said, ‘I have to get everybody off the planet, and do it in a way that audiences get it without any dialogue.’ So trash did that. You look at it, you just get it. It’s a dump, you’ve gotta move it — even a little kid understands that.”

Classy stuff, but he’s not fooling anyone. Nor should he have to.

In British Columbia we’re a little more cognizant of the climate change issue than say, a place like Arizona. We have swathes of dead trees where the Winter has failed to kill off the pine beetle. The glaciers we like to ski on so much are shrinking. Stanley Park looked like a war zone after the wind storms of 2006. From our perspective, the time for being classy about the environment has passed. It’s not a controversy, it’s a real problem.

Yesterday Al Gore threw down a challenge for the United States to get off Carbon Fuels within 10 years. Sure, it seems like it’s on the border of daring and daft, but I would rather see the US fail at something like this than keep going on its present course. However in the comments section of every article on this issue there seems to be a league of twits pointing and laughing at Gore because he was a Democrat or his house sucks up enough juice to power Bangladesh. On the other side there’s the the “Gee-Whiz Mr. Gore, I’d love to help” articles where the commentator gleefully whips out a bunch of statistics about why it can’t be done.

I have had enough of people who would rather feed their own smug egos than do what must be done. People like the Wall-E animators make the case about why we should help the environment. People like Al Gore come up with plans on how to save it. I subscribe to their beliefs because the only constant I have lived with in my adult life is change. My life, and the life of everyone else on that planet will change over time because that’s how the whole concept of time works. In the past five years alone I’ve graduated University, worked for many companies, got another diploma and got married. Even their predictions don’t come true, it’s still not as foolhardy as pretending there is such thing as a status quo.

You can find out more about Al Gore’s Green Challenge Here: Link

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