This is the blog of Sukumar and friends.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Period of Consequences

Last week we went to see "An Inconvenient Truth" and to me it seemed reminescent of a sociopolitical process more common in my own country. Al Gore says in the movie, "What changed in the U.S. with Hurricane Katrina was a feeling that we have entered a period of consequences." Now in Indian culture, we have always believed that our actions do have real consequences in this world, not just in some distant hereafter after this world comes to an end. So it is not an alien concept to us that nature would react to our actions; we do not need a theory of Gaia to tell us that the earth is a living organism. "An Inconvenient Truth" reminds us that WE will determine, in the next few years, whether we pass on a habitable earth to future generations or a world swarming with a hundred million refugees. Al Gore spent a generation in Congress and 8 years in the White House, but could not get Congress to ratify the Kyoto accord or the American people to curb profligate gasoline consumption. He now seems to have found his true calling: stumping from city to city with his Powerpoint presentation, in lecture hall after lecture hall and now movie hall by movie hall, converting people one by one, winning a mayor here, a student there. I am reminded of a London-educated lawyer returning to his native India from South Africa a century ago. The comparison may seem presumptuous, but the potential consequences are at least as monumental.