Writing the Green Prophet story on ecomigration got me thinking about a cheesy made for TV movie The Fire Next Time made 15 years ago. (Plus Earth Day is coming up next week, giving us extra reasons to think about our blue planet.)
The movie gives a chilling preview of what the world might be like in the year 2017, as a result of the consequences of global warming and severe depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.
Directed by Tom McLoughlin, and starring Craig Nelson and Bonny Bedelia, the movie depicted an environmental nightmare in the United States, with much of the Continental 48 states in a disastrous situation due to severe drought, literally consumed by raging forest and brush fires, or plummeted constantly by hurricanes and similar severe storms.
The film’s main characters, a Louisiana family engaged in a dwindling shrimp fishing business, have both their livelihood and their home literally destroyed by a monster hurricane similar to Hurricane Katrina which hit the city of New Orleans and much of the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, 2005.
Global warming and the so-called “greenhouse effect” are definitely issues being dealt with in our present time, 13 years after the above movie was first shown. Events happening in countries all over the world, give testimony to the present state of the earth’s environmental problems that appear to be getting worse as time goes on. This is true in the Middle East as well.
Here in Israel, the country is literally “drying up” as a result of increasingly scarce rainfall, and country’s main fresh water source, the Sea of Galilee, is now at record lows, despite a late rainy season reprieve.
Over in other parts of the world, numerous hurricanes have already created mayhem in the Caribbean. These events, combined with several typhoons and similar severe storms in Asia, have resulted in billions of dollars in property damages, economic loses, and hundreds of human lives. Huge forest and brush fires in California, Colorado, Arizona, and other western states, as well as in Australia and Southern Europe, have wrecked their havoc as well during the past few years.
Many European countries, Especially France, Spain, Portugal, and most recently Greece, have been ravished by fire storms of monstrous proportions. Parts of the Australian continent, one of the most aired continents in the world, have experienced fire storms of such fury that people had to literally flee into the sea to escape the fire’s ferocity.
Where is this all heading? Scientists and environmentalists have been warning us for some time that the continuous abuse of our environment by over use of petroleum based ‘fossil fuels’, including coal, fluorocarbons from aerosol cans, air conditioning systems and the like; would someday result in global warming, melting of glaciers and Artic/Antarctic ice caps, resulting in serious consequences to the inhabitants of this planet.
Only recently, it was discovered that a huge Arctic ice shelf had broken loose off Alaska’s Northwestern coast after having been in place for more than 5,000 years. Polar animals, including whales, walruses, polar bears, and other artic creatures are now on the endangered list due to changes in their habit as a result of global warming.
And down south in Antarctica, large ice shelves have also broken loose due to warmer temperatures.
The depletion of the earth’s remaining tropical rain forests, especially the forests of the Amazon River basin, often referred to as the “lungs of the earth” may also result in an environmental catastrophe of even more far reaching proportions than the melting of the Arctic ice cap
This reality coincides with the recent documentary movie An Inconvenient Truth written and produced by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in which the effects of global warming were graphically noted, and the dire warnings Mr. Gore has presented are still being unheeded by many world governments, including his own.
The movie must have effected many, however, as it received an Oscar at the 2007 Academy Award ceremonies in Hollywood California. Gore’s message seems to have become so important that it earned him the most coveted award a person can receive on this planet– the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuels, fuel cells, electricity produced by natural gas and hydro-electric generators, wind and solar power, just to name a few, will result in a much better environment and eventually reduce the damage created by over-use of fossil fuels. The technology exists, and at whatever the costs, it must be implemented before it is too late to reverse the present effects of global warming.
And if not, the consequences, as noted in The Fire Next Time, and An Inconvenient Truth will result in science fiction becoming a tragic reality, for you see, we are only looking at the world in eight years’ time!
And you don’t believe this keep watching your TVs to see what is currently happening ecologically in many parts of the world.