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An Inconvenient Truth: Letter to the Community

May 21, 2016

By Rachel Kraus - TakePart

When Participant Media and Skoll Foundation founder and chairman Jeff Skoll, Vice President Al Gore, and Davis Guggenheim premiered An Inconvenient Truth on May 24, 2006, the effect was immediate and profound: people began talking about the climate crisis—to their friends, family, and everyone in their lives. The film sparked a movement, and millions of voices joined together all across the planet to demand action. This story is part of the campaign to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of An Inconvenient TruthAbove: Al Gore delivers a sobering—and hopeful—update on the current state of climate change at the 2016 Skoll World Forum.

To our An Inconvenient Truth community,

I’ve come to know your likes and dislikes over the past three years as the An Inconvenient Truth online community manager. Yes, hello. I’ve been the one sharing stories of climate change victories and so much more in your Facebook feed.

You like high-tech ways to collect energy from the sun and the wind, and calling the earth any variation of the word “mom.” You really don’t like money in politics, bee-killing pesticides, big oil, and, of course, apathy. These environmental predilections and ires may have developed before or because of seeing An Inconvenient Truth. However, this film allowed us, this community dedicated to climate action, to come together and turn a documentary into a movement. Now, 10 years after the release of the film, its makers and I are here to celebrate that.

Like you, I saw An Inconvenient Truth some time in the last decade and decided to do something about the global climate change crisis that Al Gore had just made plain before my eyes. I started local with a recycling program for my high school. I got involved with the Sierra Club’s student coalition, started a sustainable fashion initiative in college, and am always the one fishing out rogue cans and bottles from the trash.

Sound familiar? It should, because my story is your story and the story of so many others. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the film, we asked climate change leaders how An Inconvenient Truth affected them. The impact—the spark that the film ignited in everyone who saw it—is visible everywhere.

What’s so special about An Inconvenient Truth is that beyond the immediate effects of the film, the drive to fight climate change and continue living sustainably carried on through the years in all of you. Every day we share with this community the ways that we’re reducing our carbon footprint or letting our elected representatives know we care about ratifying the Paris climate agreement and so much more. I’ve loved reading your comments and seeing community members passionately shut down climate change deniers with indisputable facts. Thanks to you and others who listened to the cry for the climate change debate to end, the world is focusing on solutions.

Here are some quick notes on what the world has accomplished in the fight to halt global warming in the last decade:

  • On Earth Day in April, 175 countries signed the historic Paris Agreement to cut global warming pollution and accelerate the shift to clean energy.
  • In the U.S., renewable energy growth and jobs are outpacing fossil fuels.
  • Grassroots activism and political action defeated the Canadian oil lobby in the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • President Obama enacted the Clean Power Plan to shut down highly polluting coal power plants.

But enough about global progress on climate change—let’s get back to me. (Just kidding. Sort of.) I’m writing to you today because the commemoration of 10 years since the release of An Inconvenient Truth corresponds with my departure from my role as community manager. The belief of Participant Media, the company that made An Inconvenient Truth, is that a story well told can change the world. An Inconvenient Truth continues to be proof positive of that. I’m moving on to pursue a career in journalism so that I can tell stories that inspire thoughtfulness and change—and continue the mission of this company from out in front of a screen.

Thank you, An Inconvenient Truth community, for a decade of climate action and inspiration. As Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media and producer of the film, recently said while reflecting on An Inconvenient Truth:

“In this 10th-anniversary year of the release of the film, I am proud of the progress we have made. Solutions are now within reach. But more than ever, there is no time to waste. We must bring these solutions to every corner of the globe.”

So keep on shutting down the haters, spreading tips for sustainable living, pressuring your representatives to usher in an era of climate action, and doing everything else you do.

Take a moment to celebrate An Inconvenient Truth by sharing your truth using the hashing #ait10, joining Al Gore in a conversation on the anniversary of the film’s release, and checking out more interactive goodies at takepart.com/ait10.

Here’s to the next decade and beyond.

Rachel

Originally posted on TakePart.com.

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