MANILA, Philippines?Really late on April 20, GMA-7 did viewers the distinct service of coming up with "Signos," a documentary about the perceptible effects of global warming, not in some generic, abstract place somewhere, but right here in the Philippines.
The fact that the presentation was narrated in Filipino made its important cautionary messages accessible to more viewers. Yes, Al Gore has already come out with "An Inconvenient Truth," but the local context provided by "Signos" was valuable in its own right.
It was also good that the documentary was narrated by Richard Gutierrez, whose popularity may have attracted more viewers to the telecast. Trouble was, Richard's narrative style was too laid-back and softspoken to energize the information he was providing.
Another problem was the program's very late timeslot. We struggled to sustain our interest in the show despite the witching hour, but it was way past midnight before it ended, so we wondered how many people had benefited from the telecast. Perhaps "Signos" can be replayed soon at a much less "challenging" time?
Even better, "Signos" could be put on video, with discs for sale to schools, where it can be used as a springboard for discussions to make young people realize the stake they have in the tragic phenomenon of global warming-and what they must do now to make sure that they can have a future worth looking forward to.
On point of scope, the documentary covered many bases-but, after a while, its relentless presentation of one disaster after another ended up as a blur, and this viewer felt benumbed after the long visual onslaught.
We know that people need to be shocked into attention and action, but too much information can have a less than attitude-expanding and empowering effect, so a more judicious marshalling of dismal "proofs" was in order.
In addition, more TV time could have been devoted to detailing what Filipinos can do to minimize the tragic consequences of global warming. Some of that was done, but a more comprehensive view was called for.
In general, however, "Signos" was an important production, because it worked hard to "Filipinize" the daunting issues of global warming, to make them more directly come to bear on our daily lives, concerns and options for action.
The thing now is to come up with follow-up activities to make sure that insights lead to change and action, so the threatening signs of global disaster can be dissipated or averted.