'An Inconvenient Truth' hits home
It was quite a surprise to see hundreds of moviegoers turn up at the Scala theatre on Sunday evening to see an environmental film, for I did not expect to see so many nature lovers in the capital city of Bangkok where economic growth usually comes before - way before - Mother Nature.
I knew that they must be ardent environmentalists or at least people who are deeply concerned about the degradation of nature for screening that day was "An Inconvenient Truth" - a documentary film by Al Gore, the Democrat politician who was so narrowly beaten by George W Bush in the 2000 US presidential election.
It was a great documentary, indeed, great enough to attract those who have never cared about how their lifestyles can affect nature and our future.
The documentary comes at the time when the world population has embarked on orgy of excessive consumption, obviously spurred by the frantic growth of cheap consumer products.
In Thailand alone, for example, nearly half of its 64 million people now have mobile phones. That means 30 million batteries. Given an average life of two years, each year 15 million units will be discarded and 15 million more produced to replace them.
Such an endless process of production and waste shows how much we have degraded nature and resources we will need in the future. What's more worrisome is that as it becomes harder to make a cross-network phone call, people opt for a second mobile phone. And that only accelerates the rate of consumption.
Another example: when drivers accelerate their cars unnecessarily, do they ever think about how much fossil fuels they are burning? And the amount of carbon monoxide emitted?
I wouldn't feel so agitated if I were sure that Thailand would be spared from natural disasters resulting from our reckless lifestyles. But I'm not. I'm worried and concerned. And I do believe that all those who have seen "An Inconvenient Truth" share this thinking.