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Seeing GreenThe Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images$
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Finis Dunaway

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169903

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169934.001.0001

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The Strange Career of An Inconvenient Truth

The Strange Career of An Inconvenient Truth

Chapter:
(p.258) Conclusion The Strange Career of An Inconvenient Truth
Source:
Seeing Green
Author(s):

Finis Dunaway

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226169934.003.0016

The conclusion focuses on the surprising of popularity of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. While many journalists, film critics, and others have marvelled at the strange career of An Inconvenient Truth, this discussion has failed to consider the film’s place in the longer history of environmental icons. Indeed, much that seemed novel about the film drew upon tropes and representational strategies that have repeatedly popularized and delimited the scope of American environmentalism. The conclusion explains how the film’s fusion of fact and feeling, its framing of universal vulnerability and responsibility, and its failure to address power relations and environmental injustice all connect to other themes and examples in Seeing Green. From this vantage point, An Inconvenient Truth can be considered both surprisingly innovative and disappointingly familiar, a popular text that visualized the climate crisis but also reproduced the problems and limits of previous environmental icons. After considering the film’s emotional presentation of scientific data, its emphasis on universal vulnerability, and its embrace of green consumerism, the conclusion ends with a discussion of 350.org. Led by Bill McKibben, this climate activist group has created innovative images that both draw on and depart from the visual politics of An Inconvenient Truth.

Keywords:   Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, climate change, global warming, emotions, universal vulnerability, environmental injustice, green consumerism, 350.org, Bill McKibben

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