February 22, 2006
Al Gore Speaks Out
I met them both on the way into the auditorium. After shaking Al's hand, I said, "I was 'told' that I very well break down in tears after your talk." Bear in mind that its not a political talk; its about how much damage we're doing to the earth.
He has put on a little weight and has grayed slighty; wouldn't you if you observed the past six or so years, knowing that you 'nearly' had an opportunity to avoid so many of errors that now cannot be undone.
As I wait for him to enter stage left, I'm wondering when the people behind me will tell me to turn my laptop off. Then again, its not every day that you're sitting in the front row, listening to Al Gore speak. I can't help but want to take notes and capture words and images as they hit me, in real time.
He starts his talk by introducing himself as the man who used to be the next president of the United States. It gets a laugh from the audience and Tipper herself, smiles. She actually looks proud and is extremely attentive, despite the fact that she has probably heard this speech a million times.
He shows us the globe, including a beautiful shot of the globe without clouds. His focus is the vulnerability of the earth and tells us some alarming facts about global warming.
He references a Mark Twain quote:
"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know,
It's what we know for sure that just ain't so."
His message is: we're heading for trouble.
We see changes over a twenty five year period of Kilimanjaro, Argentina, Peru, Patagonia, Italy, the glaciers from the Himilayas. He points out that 40% of the people of the Himilayas rely on water from the glaciers as their daily drinking water.
The room is too dark to capture the images of the shocking slides showing the climatic changes that will so dramatically impact our lives moving in the next century.
He then turns to the heat record changes in the past several years, including upper-level ocean temperatures, as well as the number of increased storms and tornados we've been experiencing. Last summer, we saw a rise in hurricanes and the intensity of the every type of storm.
He makes an analogy. Says Gore, "In the 1930s, there was a gathering storm on the continent of Europe." He quotes Winston Churchill's response at the time, "this is outside the boundaries of history and we need to respond. We have entered a period of consquences."
Nature has indeed been going crazy. Flood and hurricane records are continuously being broken with more flooding, more drought and severe consequences from recent storms.
And guess what? Yup, more grim news. There have been 30 new diseases since 1976. None of the news we've heard so far has been good - I hope a positive thought follows before we head to the Wired-sponsored reception which ends Day one.......I'm starting to feel a little depressed. Perhaps we can ask the Ugandan dance troop to come back on stage before the night is over??
The last slide has left me even more depressed......a map of Greenland shows the levels of melting and the last two pictures are within a three year period. I can't get over the significant changes in three years - the maps will cleary need to be redrawn at this rate.
Al points to three factors:
1. Population Growth (a popular theme among the scientists and physicist talks today). The momentum has already redefined our relationship to the planet.
2. Science and technological advancement......new technology that came post 1945 altered the old habit of war, so we had to change the way we think about it, says Al. Mistakes in dealing with Mother Nature have more significant consequences now they have in the past.
3. Our way of thinking. Gore points out, "Our collective nervous system needs a sudden jolt to know what's going on."
What about the role of the media and what it tells us and not tells us? Perhaps a better way to say it is 'how they relay the information - the tone even more so than the information."
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I must admit that in many ways, the credibility of the Bush Administration leaves ALOT to be desired. On the other hand, Al Gore has little credibility. He is still bitter over the 2000 election. Old Al once claimed to have invented the internet, as I recall.
Posted by: Richard | Feb 24, 2006 3:55:11 PM
Lady, if you believe that Gore has credibility(And you obviously do) more power to you. I think it would be more appropriate if you at least considered renaming your blog-DOWN THE LEFT AVENUE. Heaven forbid that you would name it Down the Right Avenue. That would hardly be considered fabulous, would it not?
Posted by: Richard | Feb 24, 2006 4:05:58 PM