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The Day after Tomorrow Essay

I’ve had a strong connection with the film The Day after Tomorrow since
childhood. It was one of those movies that defined my childhood and challenged my
perception about nature after watching it 15 years ago in a theater house with my
family. As a young child with no mature and deep thoughts way back then, traces of
memories that remained in my mind are the visual effects of polar ice caps wrecking,
storm surge submerging an entire city and the statue of liberty covered in ice and frost.
I never thought way back then that the movie contained a very strong and
relevant message that is wildly significant in our generation nowadays. As I watched it
again with discernment for our STS class, the feeling of amazement was still there for
the visual effects. But this time, every scene depicting tragedy and chaos brought about
by cyclonic severe natural disasters literally sent chills down my spine and kept me at
the edge of my seat, breath taken, as the possibility of the events portrayed on the
movie is inevitable especially now that the meteorologically fictional horror seen on the
picture is becoming real in our generation.
After climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is largely ignored by U.N. officials
when presenting his environmental concerns, his research proves true when an
enormous "superstorm" develops, setting off catastrophic natural disasters throughout
the world. Trying to get to his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is trapped in New York
with his friend Laura (Emmy Rossum) and others, Jack and his crew must travel by foot
from Philadelphia, braving the elements, to get to Sam before it's too late.
At one point of the movie, it was mentioned by the climatologists and weather
experts working for the government that the intense and dramatic shift in the climate
experienced by the civilization is nature’s own way to exercise check and balance. This
check and balance system is all for stability and regulation. Moreover, the film tackled
the long-term and severe impact of climate change especially in the Arctic.
According to National Geographic, Everywhere on Earth ice is changing. The
famed snows of Kilimanjaro have melted more than 80 percent since 1912. Glaciers in
the Garhwal Himalaya in India are retreating so fast that researchers believe that most
central and eastern Himalayan glaciers could virtually disappear by 2035. Arctic sea ice
has thinned significantly over the past half century, and its extent has declined by about
10 percent in the past 30 years. NASA's repeated laser altimeter readings show the
edges of Greenland's ice sheet shrinking. Spring freshwater ice breakup in the Northern
Hemisphere now occurs nine days earlier than it did 150 years ago, and autumn freezeup ten days later. Thawing permafrost has caused the ground to subside more than 15
feet (4.6 meters) in parts of Alaska. From the Arctic to Peru, from Switzerland to the
equatorial glaciers of Man Jaya in Indonesia, massive ice fields, monstrous glaciers,
and sea ice are disappearing, fast. When temperatures rise and ice melts, more water
flows to the seas from glaciers and ice caps, and ocean water warms and expands in
volume. This combination of effects has played the major role in raising average global
sea level between four and eight inches (10 and 20 centimeters) in the past hundred
years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
However, it could not be denied in the film that anthropogenic activities
accelerated the process of global warming, and relevantly, climate change. With the rise
of industrialization and excessive consumption of coal and fossil fuels, we also have our
fair share on the conditions we experience in our world nowadays. What is shown on
the movie is not impossible because gradually, we are also experiencing the effects of
global warming and climate change. If this will not be controlled, we might also end up
fighting for our lives as the wrath of Mother Nature tries to succumb us.
Looking beyond the surface, the stability experts had theorized does not only
apply to earth but to the entire civilization as well – to us, the humans. Quotably, we are
always reminded that the value of a thing is only identified once it is gone and that
remorse always comes in the end. If not for the stability the earth wanted to execute that
led to formation of super storms, humungous tidal waves and deadly blizzards, us
humans would never learn that we are just inhabitants in this world. We do not own the
world but we seem to act like one. We seem to take control of this paradise we dwell in,
gradually destroying it with daily activities we tend not to regulate. Hence, once all the
negative effects accumulate, we are also the one who suffers. Ironic how we blatantly
destroy the world but we are also the ones calling for help once the world heals itself in
its check and balance systems.
This movie should always remind us of humility - not only to our fellow men but
also to our world. One of the most interesting character developments in the movie is
that of the Vice President. It was notable that a major difference could have indeed
happened if not for his antagonistic and selfish traits in the exposition. After all the
damage has been done, as well as with all the lives lost, epiphany has dawned on him
as he became apologetic with his prior actions and emphasized the essence of humility
to achieve balance and stability. He realized all the shortcomings of our civilization,
talking about how we should conserved our natural resources and strengthened ties
despite diversity and differences.
The Vice President is the representation of us, the doomed human civilization.
We thought we knew everything. We thought we knew better. We thought we know this
world full well. But no, we do not. We forget to humble ourselves towards Mother Nature
as we are supposed to be her stewards and not her kings. In the end, we only learn if
demise ultimately unfolds right in front of our eyes and remorse consumed us. We
should have listened. We should have acted upon sooner. We shouldn’t have resorted
to apathy. But it is not too late. It is never too late to be reasonably disturbed. Just like
the Vice President, we should learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves in order
to make the world a better place.
Aside from the story of survival and disaster is a profound depiction of love,
humility and unity. But more than that, The Day After Tomorrow is all about the power of
hope and believing. The President believed the theories presented by Jack. Jack
believed that Sam is alive. Sam believed that his father will save him. The small group
of survivors believed in Sam when he told them it is best to stay inside to avoid the
deadly blizzard. Professor Rapson and his team believed that the children will still grow
up in a much better tomorrow. Everyone believed that God will never forsake them.
Everyone believed. Everyone prayed.
Just like The Day After Tomorrow, we should believe that tomorrow will be a
better day and the world will be a better place for us to live in as well as for our
children’s children. However, we should seriously embody our roles as stewards of
God’s creation and preserve it for sustainability. It all begins with “I”. We should instill
discipline within ourselves because even our small actions can trigger a chain or
irreversible events. I believe our collective efforts could make a difference. Even if that
difference is diminishing a small portion of greenhouses gases to rise into the
atmosphere, it matters. If we believe in our capabilities to make tomorrow a better day,
then hope that our world will become a better place is as bright and immaculate as the
replenished atmosphere covering Earth at the end of the film.
2. National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/big-thaw/