Whatever you thought of his performance as Bill Clinton’s vice president, you have to admit that there’s no one on the planet who’s done more to draw attention to climate change than Al Gore.
And in his stubborn focus on global warming, Gore is blissfully old-fashioned. In many green circles, the topic has become passé.
“Why unnecessarily irritate our conservative friends with this subject that’s so awkward for them?” some well-funded green groups appear to be have concluded. “Let’s just talk about green jobs or energy independence.”
But Gore is having none of it. No matter what happens in Congress or in the media, Gore has just kept beating the drum on run-away climate change. As David Roberts wrote at Grist, after interviewing Gore:
Without climate, he said, the other lines of persuasion can be defeated or perverted. After all, “the carbon polluters and the deniers and their ideological allies are going to attack green jobs; they’re going to shift the national security argument to the exploitation of coal, tar sands, and shale.” Without climate as an anchor, the economic and security arguments can’t gain the traction they need. In short, “it’s important to reiterate the centrality of this challenge.”
It’s the climate, stupid
Last month, Gore put out a major article in Rolling Stone excoriating Obama for failing to use his bully pulpit to push climate action and the media for continuing to pay respect to climate skeptics.
Now, he’s renamed his Alliance for Climate Protection The Climate Reality Project, pulled away from lobbying efforts (go figure!) and announced a new campaign to out deniers (US Chamber of Commerce? Cato Institute?) and the big polluters who love them (I’m rooting for the Koch brothers).
The Climate Reality Project has scheduled “24 Hours of Reality” for September 14-15 this year. If the international debt crisis and peak oil haven’t yet brought down the global economy, could the event serve as a turning point in the international climate movement?
As Gore puts it, “24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.”
What can change in a day? Everything. On September 14, the world will focus its attention on the truth about the climate crisis. For 24 hours, we will all live in reality. Pick a faraway place or a city near you. Make it yours for one day. We’re hitting every time zone — but only once. 8 p.m. in your time zone. Choose a location and get involved.
We all know how grave is the threat from climate disruption. Do we have to sit idly by and watch big polluters destroy our planet’s ability to host our species just because big corporations control our governments? At least Gore is trying to do something.
Sure, to try to survive peak oil, you can retreat to a well armed eco-village in rural Oregon.
But climate change? Just look at the weird weather everyone’s having these days. No place is really safe. Aside from praying for a swift collapse of industrial society, I don’t see much else you can do besides try to break the political gridlock and get the world to take some real action.
What have I got to lose by tagging along on Al’s little ride? If nothing else, it’s sure to irritate all the climate change deniers I know.
— Erik Curren