If you found a corked bottle on the beach that had a message in it that read, “This is a matter of life or death. Please deliver x message to y person.” It would be up to you and your morals whether or not to deliver that message. Would you do it? Of course you would, and yet how would you describe that moral obligation to the person you’d never met? This is my dilemma.
My new friend and mentor, Al Gore, a recovering politician, received a similar message 40 years ago when he first learned of global warming. *Note: this will be my only post about Gore as I want my sharing on this to be about the issue, not a man linked to the issue, but trust me, his is a good story.
Gore’s college professor, Roger Revelle of UC San Diego, was the first scientist to measure carbon emissions in the atmosphere, introducing the world to the stark realities of how climate is influenced dramatically by greenhouse gas emission, (which summarily for those who don’t know about greenhouse gas, is measured in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and other heat-trapping atmospheric gases. Greenhouse gases are emitted through transport, land clearance, the production and consumption of foods, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services.)
We happen to release 90 million tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere every day, which is way more than your average volcano per year, destroying the health of the planet, the health of the people, and the health of the plants and wildlife. All that added heat melts our polar ice, raises sea levels, sinks islands and floods cities. It wreaks havoc on the soil, diminishing our food and water supply, while contributing heavily to acid rain, droughts, and major climate catastrophes.
Pair that info with Gore’s core belief in the democratic system and you’d think that’d be all we’d need to influence Washington. But when Al first introduced this information to congress more than 30 years ago by having his college professor testify, he was – and has been – continually met with resistance.
I asked Mr Gore, how do you do it? What’s YOUR renewable energy source? What keeps your fire burning?
“I do yoga.” he said.
I didn’t see that coming.
“And I meditate.”
I didn’t see that coming either.
“I don’t do as much as I should, but…”
Whoa. This is sh*t new age girls say!
He then went on to tell me what it felt like to almost lose his son who in 1989 was struck by a car leaving a baseball game. During the time Al spent in the hospital with his son, his schedule of serious speeches and meetings no longer mattered. Al contemplated and reevaluated his life’s purpose, blaming himself for letting go of his son’s hand before his son ran out into the street. When Gore eventually returned to Washington, he did so with a new grip on life, determined to never let go of that hand again. The fact that he’d been forced to consider losing something so precious left a raw spot in his heart. The more time he invested in learning continued to touch that same raw place – and in that – he realized this precious earth, with it’s delicate climate balance, natural beauty and richness; a magnificence that we inherited from those who came before us… can be lost.
Re-telling this story is MY effort to inform and inspire, hoping to shift the public opinion on global warming. It is no longer a future problem. It is a now event.
Not until we all agree it is happening will we be able to drive history and have the ability to rethink and redesign our products and policies. But until then, if we keep acting like it’s an unsettled argument, or someone else’s problem, emissions will continue to rise, making it harder and harder to recover from this.
“…the resistance! My god the resistance!” Al went on to say with both hands to his cheeks like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.
“…But for all the negative things people can say …of all the things I’ve heard, Jason… I wear as a badge of honor.”
Inspired by this dedication and unwavering passion, one can easily see why Al is one of my favorite people. And now having spent so much time with the man, not the politician, I know why I came all the way down here to this isolated, frozen continent: To get the message.
“We’ve got to solve it. We have to,” reaffirmed Al, delivering his message in a bottle once again. “And how do we solve the climate crisis? By continuing to solve the climate crisis.”
Over and out.