Secondary school kids quiz Martin Bursik on "An Inconvenient Truth"

'An Inconvenient Truth'

Pupils from Prague's Secondary School for Environmental Studies sat down at the city's Atlas cinema on Thursday morning for a showing of Al Gore's award-winning documentary on global warming - An Inconvenient Truth. Afterwards students were given the chance to put questions to Environment Minister Martin Bursik, who attends such showings on a regular basis.

'An Inconvenient Truth'
Al Gore's powerful documentary about climate change has been shown in cinemas across the world, and has won a host of awards, including most recently an Oscar. His basic supposition - that global warming is man-made, potentially catastrophic, and we should act fast to stop it - is now supported by virtually the entire international scientific community. So what did the pupils of Prague's Secondary School for Environmental Studies think of the film?

"I definitely agree with Al Gore on this one. Something has to be done. Because otherwise our planet is finished. It won't be good."

"Well, let's say that it was a really interesting film, and the first half contained a really strong message about the environment, definitely. But the end of it seemed to me more like an election campaign for Al Gore. However, there was a very strong message, and we should draw the consequences from it. Perhaps not the consequences that Minister Bursik proposes, but it was interesting, certainly."

Martin Bursik,  photo: CTK
It was clear from many of the questions put to Environment Minister Bursik afterwards that there's a variety of views, even amongst young people, in the Czech Republic towards the problem of climate change. Martin Bursik said he welcomed any debate that would help mankind better understand the problem.

"We don't everything about the problem, and there is still some level of uncertainty. However, the debate after the movie was very interesting to me, because the questions they put showed they hadn't got the information only from observing Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. They've been deeper into the problem, studying it, reading about it, going to lectures about it. I think it's very important so that the new generation has the opportunity to get the information about this global problem, because it is more about their generation than about ours."

The Czech Republic is home to a well-known sceptic on climate change - the country's president, Vaclav Klaus. He recently told members of the US Congress that Al Gore was wrong on climate change, and that what he called "ambitious environmentalism" posed the greatest threat to the world since communism. It's probably not a view shared by the majority of Czechs, but the debate in this country is certainly a lively one.