Monday, May 3, 2010

Experiential: Learning from Movies

By Dave Ragazzo

For the experiential component of this class, I watched two movies that focused on my overall final story idea which was global warming and carbon emissions. The first movie that I watched was "An Inconvenient Truth," which was a documentary directed by David Guggenheim. The movie follows former Vice President Al Gore as he campaigns around the country to educate American citizens about global warming. Although climate change is a hot-button issue, there are some things that make me not sure if it is entirely true. Before watching this movie, I had to say that I did not really believe in global warming because of the cold winters we have been experiencing the last few winters.

I have not always been the biggest Al Gore supporter, and loved when they made fun of him on the show "South Park" numerous times, but after watching this movie I must give the man some credit. He is very dedicated to his work, and the information he presents seems very formidable. He backs up much of what he says with charts, graphs, and other visuals that definitely help add to his points. One point he made that really stuck in my head was how he addressed global warming as not a political issue but more of a moral issue. He shows that if every person in the world cannot cut down on their own greenhouse gases, climate change will only get worse. I thought that was very interesting and never really thought about it like that. However, because I did some research for my final story about carbon emissions caused by people, and its effect on the environment, it made perfect sense to me.

Where I disagree with Gore is where he says that climate change can be reversed if proper action is taken soon enough. I tend to believe this is not the case and I believe that weather on this Earth works in cycles. Evidence has shown that in the past, at some point in time, there was an ice age so everything was obviously freezing cold. Then, the Earth got warmer and the ice melted and as we move closer to the sun, it will continue to get hotter. That is one of the main reasons I do not believe in global warming, but I do believe that people in this world need to take better care of the environment that we are in. That is where climate change comes in, and when we get hit with three feet of snow in the winter, I think a cleaner environment can actually control that.

The second movie I watched was "Who Killed the Electric Car," which focuses on electric cars, but mainly the production of one model that General Motors came out with. I thought this movie was important to watch because the carbon emissions that standard oil cars let into the environment can be very harmful. However, there has not been a solid solution that the United States or any other country in the world has been able to embrace. This movie shows one of those alternate car solutions, and although electric cars may seem good on paper, this movie shows why they were not popular in America. They could really do a lot of good for this country, but getting everyone on board is not an easy task, and this movie clearly illustrates that.

This movie gave a lot of information on electric cars, and was a helpful tool in my research of my final project, which was how I finished my experiential learning. With about an hour left, I did a lot of research on electric cars, and used information from this movie in my final piece. Although I thought I knew a lot about electric cars from things that I had heard, I actually did not. I did most of my research through the internet, and found out interesting facts such as electric cars work off rechargeable batteries, and a fully charged battery only goes about 80-100 miles. This is probably the main reason that they are not popular as people need cars to go farther than that on a single charge.

I also discovered that oil companies were against electric cars, which was another main reason that they never took off in America. For obvious reasons, oil companies wanted to maintain their monopoly on the American car industries, and electric cars would definitely kill that. However, electric cars would help this country not only by making the environment a cleaner place, but we would not have to be so dependant on other countries for oil. Oil was a huge reason that we went into the Middle East, which is often looked at as George Bush’s worst move as President. If electric cars were prominent in the United States, he wouldn’t have had to do that, and a lot of bad publicity would not have been thrown his way.

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