I came under a lot of pressure from (white) friends to see An Inconvenient Truth. I felt I was more or less up to speed on global warming — hey, I recycle, I drive a hybrid, I use those new lightbulbs at home. It’s a problem but I’m doing my lil bit, right?

“No, you don’t understand!” they said. “You have to see the movie.” OK, so I got around to it this weekend. I figured, finally I could cross it off my list of “important”, “must-see” left-leaning documentaries.

To my surprise, An Inconvenient Truth turned out to be, for me at least, an almost religious experience. As a girl, I read in the Bible:

Genesis 1:26 –
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Al Gore is here to tell us that we basically get an F- from God on this particular chore of looking after the earth. Oh and by the way, the end of the world — if we continue on the same path — is roughly 50 or so years from now. Because of global warming.

I went through a lot of emotions during the movie including “Oh my god. Oh my god. OH.MY.GOD.” A small vein began to throb in my forehead and when I looked around the theater, I saw that a lot of other people were holding their heads too.

I also noticed that I was the only black person in the theater.

Sure, you can say I went to a theater that mostly attracts hip urban white people. And I know I am not the only African-American person to see this movie. Outside of a limited pool of black intelligentsia and black bohemians, how many have seen this movie, do you reckon?

I reckon not many.

I drove up to the Hunts Point Saturday for a screening of Inconvenient Truth, followed by an iChat with Al Gore. The host was a group called Generation Engage; the crowd was mostly college kids; one of the handful of locals there, an artist, said she’d “never seen so many white people in the Bronx in my life.”

And that’s too bad, because if anything is actually going to get done about global warming, it’s going to have to include the majority of African-Americans. We’ve been the moral conscience of the nation for a long time now. Al Gore treads perhaps too lightly on the spiritual aspects of this problem. But this is the kind of movie that church congregations should watch together. And then form a plan for changing the way we live. Cuz clearly, we ain’t livin’ right.

How did you feel looking at those pictures from Hurricane Katrina? Did it upset you? Make you mad? Well get ready to see a few more pictures like that. Because the consequences of global warming will hit the black and the brown first and worst. Like the East Asian tsunami, like Katrina. It’s no coincidence that we are seeing these terrible storms more and more. The black and the brown of America must become vigilant and push the popular culture towards understanding and changing our impact on the earth before it is too late.

Our opponents are those who have already given up. Who believe that the end times are already upon us. And that includes basically every black women over the age of 75-80 — your grandmother and my grandmother. We must fight denial, sure. But we must also fight those who will refuse to change, either because they are resigned to the destruction of the earth or because they think their wealth will protect them.

By the middle of the movie, even before Al Gore launched into his pep talk, I was ready to fight. That is the only attitude that has any hope of saving us. One friend I talked to told me she and her husband were actually considering adopting instead of not having a child because of “An Inconvenient Truth”. They might save a child already here on earth, but why create a life that may never see the future? I told her we must continue to hope. What better demonstration of faith and hope that we can turn this around than to have a child (and adopt too, which was their first plan)?

African-Americans are the experts in this country on faith, hope and the fight to bring that faith and hope to light even when everything — including the system — is against us. We can and must be a part of this battle. We know how to change minds and hearts to achieve what looks impossible.

Like many African-Americans, I grew up steeped in the church. My own beliefs have become influenced by ideas both inside and outside of Christianity over the years. That background though gave me a moral foundation for which I am grateful. Al is right — global warming is not a political issue. It is a moral, ethical and in my opinion maybe also a spiritual issue.

So you’ll see me writing about this subject of global warming more often. I hope you’ll join me in seeing the movie which breaks it down for you why this is so important. Then share the movie with your friends, your family, your pastor, your church.

I hope you’ll join me and others in fighting for our future. I look forward to seeing you there.

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