Pajama Perspectives

Ryan Reeh

By Ryan ReehThe Daily Northwestern

Al Gore is a boring man.

On Oct. 6, at the 10 p.m. showing of Gore’s global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” playing at Norris, an estimated 40 students watched him present his long-winded case for 100 minutes. However, during the credits, where suggestions were made to reduce personal carbon dioxide emissions to zero, 12 out of those 40 (my roommate and I are included here) stayed and watched the advice roll by.

Are we killing the planet through inaction? How long will it take before politicians and the public take serious steps to improve our environment?

As Gore says in the movie: “The world won’t ‘end’ overnight in 10 years. But a point will have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction.”

I’ll admit that before the movie, I was relatively ignorant of how serious the problem is. I thought: “Sure, the ice caps are melting. The world population is booming, and the demand for cars and efficient transportation is rising. There’s a problem, but somebody will take care of it.” However, my curiosity about global warming took me to Norris that night. I haven’t been in a car since.

The Web site about the movie (www.climatecrisis.net) has everything from statistical data to a “carbon calculator,” which figures out how much carbon dioxide you emit. I found out I release 3.9 tons of CO2 per year, even though I use public transportation and I walk everywhere these days. For comparison’s sake, the site claims the national average is 7.5 tons per year.

The documentary makes Gore seem like the lone flag bearer on the fight for environmentalism, but he’s not. A good example is the city of Chicago’s “Bike 2015 Plan,” (www.bike2015plan.org) a joint initiative with Mayor Richard Daley and the Chicagoland Bike Federation to incorporate bicycles into Chiagoans’ daily routine by 2015. One of the plan’s aims is to reduce the amount of pollution produced by the urban hub of downtown.

There are other movements and initiatives around the world worth mentioning here, but any one will really do to reduce the current trend of global warming.

Last year, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I walked south from Evanston to downtown Chicago and managed to get to the intersection of Chicago and State St., right off of the El’s Red Line Chicago stop. I was unable to walk or stand properly for a week and a half afterwards. I walked because I was curious about what the space between these two spaces looked like. It was elegant, like a Monet painting. I saw Grant Park and Lincoln Park and passed by many other Chicago classics along the lakeside. The trip took me four and a half hours.

I could’ve just stayed home that day. We all could just stay home, but then we really wouldn’t realize what exactly it is that we’re helping to destroy.

And frankly, if we all can’t walk straight for a week and a half afterwards, it just might be worth it.

Reach Ryan Reeh at [email protected]