It felt particularly poignant to sit in a darkened theater the other night, watching flood footage from across the world that is attributed to rising temperatures across the globe. My eyes welled with tears at images from Houston in 2015, underwater—images that are eerily similar to the ones we are watching now as Harvey ravages coastal Texas. “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” this year’s followup to Al Gore’s 2006 hit “An Inconvenient Truth,” is a harrowing update on how little progress we’ve made in addressing the global climate crisis that is knocking on the door.

The film is a strong one; we follow Gore’s track as he shares his patented climate change presentation with activists around the world, so that they may in turn teach their communities about the dangers we face and how to work to create change; all in the hope of slowing, or reversing, the effects of global warming. In a particularly dramatic turn, we watch the planned 24-hour climate broadcast be interrupted in Paris, as the terrorist attacks on the Bataclan nightclub of 2016 unfold. We see the backdoor politics and wheeling-and-dealing that happened  to pass the U.N. Climate Accord in the same city. And we are haunted by the text reminding us that President Donald Trump declared we would withdraw from that agreement (a note that elected officials from states across the U.S. have committed to remaining true to the accord and  working locally to combat climate change).


The film was what you would expect. Depressing, motivating, suspenseful and full of white faces. It was, as my mother said, “Exactly what this movie could be.” But I was left wanting more. Wouldn’t it have been great if, as a sequel, Gore had spent time exploring the impact of environmental justice on local communities across the United States? I bet all of Boston would have turned out if he’d spent April 29, 2017, with the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond (the minister for ecological justice at Bethel AME Church), following her as she emceed the Boston People’s Climate Mobilization. I would have been inspired if he’d gone to Flint to examine the daily struggle of folks fighting, still, for clean water. What if the filmmakers had urged Gore to get in touch with the community organizers fighting daily to make their communities greener and more just?

It would have been a different movie, sure, but one that I think would resonate more widely for today’s audience.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to get engaged with environmental work in and around Boston, check out these organizations:

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