Did You Get My Message?

February 8, 2012

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.

COMMENTS (26)
  • Avatar of MillieD
    MillieD said ...

    Thank You.

  • Avatar of hala.zabaneh1
    hala.zabaneh1 said ...

    I know how you and Al feel! My brother reminds me of it every day. He is currently studying Environmental studies and Sustainability at Harvard and He’s working as the head of research and development for an Industrial Design Company, who he is hoping are going to help him build a completely NetZero Home. I’m with you all the way!! I’m not a driver, nor is my brother, we’re hoping that his project will get picked up and help people understand how a home that creates its own energy is better for the environment!

  • Avatar of gealine
    gealine said ...

    Do you ever wonder what happens to the words that we send
    Do they bend, do they break from the flight that they take
    And come back together again with a whole new meaning
    In a brand new sense, completely unrelated to the one I sent

    my thoughts exactly

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I remember Mr Gore when he came here in Italy. He was on this program, AnnoZero. Please tell him that our italian politicians have to learn from him. I keep living in this country because I love it and I want to fight for a best future. There is a lot to do. As you said: I’m continuing to solve this crisis.
    Fortunally, I’m not alone. It would be like lifting an iceberg :)

    Love and Appreciation

  • Avatar of 4meclara
    4meclara said ...

    Thank you for this and congratulations for your awareness on current environmental issues! We are all responsible for everything we do on our planet. I just hope my country learns this lesson before it is too late. I hope Romania will manage somehow to avoid at least one of the many pending environmental disasters here. “Wisdom is better than silver and gold.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vISwxRFUkI

  • Avatar of krassuski
    krassuski said ...

    Mraz, first of all, congratulation for the effort you are putting into it. It only takes a person to change the world, and this change should start it now.
    As a Landscape Designer, Architect and Urban Planner I do see the importance of it all. And how we should be looking forward to make a valuable change on our planet. Every and each one of us has this power, if not to change the world, at least to change our attitudes.
    Probably you already watched the movie Thrive: What on Earth Will it Take, but if not, that’s my recommendation for you. I hope you like it.
    Peace.
    Eduardo Krassuski

  • Avatar of natalia_ataraxia

    Open your mind and love unconditionally.

    Jason watch the video of my friends!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE20uuhnOd4&ob=av2e

    Spoken
    You can always close your eyes,
    But you can’t close your ears.

    There is a question of, I would say,
    How is it, of love for the earth, no?
    That is to say that we are part of the roots of where we are born.
    So then thinking about this a song occurs to us.

    How difficult to sing to mother earth,
    Who puts up with us and has seen us grow,
    And the parents of your parents
    And your children, the ones who will come after (as well)
    If you see her like your mother
    Perhaps our look will change
    And let us act like the one who defends his own
    And the ones who come with him.

    The root at my feet I felt,
    I raised my hand and I saw,
    That everything goes together, that everything is a cycle,
    The earth, the sky and once again here.

    Like the water from the sea goes to the clouds,
    The water rains and again to the start, hear-ear

    I yelled, yelled… Oh, don’t you see it?
    She is dying slowly, mama tierra, mother earth.

    It is not a matter of breaking windows,
    Nor street lights, nor of money,
    Better to break consciences in error, hear.

    Nobody taught us, not you nor me,
    Nobody explained to us, not you nor me,
    Better to learn, let the voices run and perhaps achieve.

    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Mother earth says…
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Mother earth says to you Stop!
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Mother earth listen…
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Mother earth says… Get on your feet.
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Get on your feet.
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Mother earth says… Get on your feet.
    (Bbtr trr bombarding) Look at me, yeah

    I yelled, yelled… Oh, don’t you see it?
    She is dying slowly, mama tierra, mother earth

    Oh mother clamors,
    Her flame is going out on her,
    And this isn’t from today
    Already from times past, hear
    (Decre) Decades deteriorating.

    Now mother clamors,
    Her flame is going out on her,
    They sell it to her now,
    From what she was to what I am,
    Her heartbeats (tre) magnify today.

    They call, they call,
    Mother earth, they call
    Now that they maneuver them without plan
    Too many burrowing
    Others fall, later fruits – they give none

    They call, they call
    Mother earth, they call
    Deaf ears, the “man” gives them,
    They avert their gazes,
    They contaminate until they eliminate.

    I yelled, yelled…Oh, don’t you see it?
    She is dying slowly, mamá tierra, mother earth

    Spoken:

    There is a question of, I would say,
    How is it, of love for the earth…

    “You must be the change you want to see in the world”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    Love from Spain,
    Natalia

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    What documentaries on the subject do you recommend? Freedom which addressed our oil addiction was fantastic and well done. I’m convinced, concerned and thinking (and trying to act in small ways) all the time now but I honestly don’t think my “suburban” friends are really tuned in. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the film, A Race to Nowhere (addressing issues in our school/parenting culture) but that got a TON of attention last year in communities like mine, aka towns with lots of families with 2 adults, 2.5 kids and a minivan. Parents do anything for their kids these days…they might wake up to a film explaining the future of our grandkids. Or putting out something compelling in hopes that it goes viral on the Internet…

    I will say that I see a generation of kids being raised in the U.S. with an awareness of these issues far beyond my 40 year old neighbor. In fact, this will make you smile, but every time I go to throw away even a sticky note in the regular garbage, my 9 year old scolds me. They learned recycle, renew, reuse, in 3rd grade as part of the curriculum!!! That is progress, right?! But I guess one issue is that we needed to be acting long ago and we can’t wait for the 9 year olds to become tax payers and activists.

    In my opinion, there are thousands and thousands of families who are so stuck in their own little world of work, obligations, carpooling and soccer games that they never stop to think beyond tomorrow. People are living a rat race that is fueled by a complex set of social and economic factors. Lots of educated people just don’t stop to take in this information, let alone to make a change. “I Won’t Give Up” to many of my peers is to just make it through the to-do list of the day. I’ve been there – I am not there now, thankfully. For many people, no one is breathing or stopping long enough to even complete a thought. I hate to say this, but I believe it to be true.

    Long ago I was a student of economics and I was a big proponent of de-regulation but as I’ve aged, I have to say that we probably need our government to do what Al Gore hoped for long ago. We need our government to lead and we need people to wake up and try, a little!

    Hope you don’t mind the stream of consciousness here – as I write, my own ideas take form, the above is really a jumble!!!

    Many thanks for sharing your knowledge, and for the way you do it – a balancing act that you handle very gracefully. Carry on!! :) Jane

  • Avatar of Sandy.C
    Sandy.C said ...

    Mother Earth has already asked me for help, and I’m staying balanced myself (first step for everything), and helping. Thanks for publicizing this, jason!

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    I was planning my comments as I read this, I thought I had some witty ones, then I saw your picture. Now I have the theme to “The Love Boat” stuck in my head. I think of Al Gore as our own for reals Lorax, that message is simalar “Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.”

  • Avatar of mrazwordplay
    mrazwordplay said ...

    I ring this bell loudly all the time! We just have to change our ways. So many people ask me, why bother? Because it only takes 1 person to change the world. That’s why. You might not see the change right away, but it grows and swells and influences others. If you have children, teach them that every little action makes a difference. That THEY can make a difference. Just because the last few generations didn’t care, doesn’t mean the upcoming ones won’t!
    <3

  • GoodGoodMusic said ...

    Mother Earth will be very pleased with her Superhero! Also, styrofoam is recyclable #6. xoxo <3 Sarah

  • Keep the work up. So far we have recycling, plastic bag bans, renewable energy sources that weren’t there years agosomeday, I hope soon the rest of this world will get the message of why its so important. My kids are raised knowing. Have a good remainder of the trip. Be well.

  • Avatar of MarLuna
    MarLuna said ...

    Respect your mother (earth)! Don’t steal, kill or cheat her from her love she gives us. Give her root children room to grow, help her in your own community where you walk and how you shop. Do not take! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/chile-glacier-ice-theft_n_1257480.html

  • Avatar of morgenmond
    morgenmond said ...

    I don’t give up – on our planet!

  • Avatar of LesAnneC
    LesAnneC said ...

    Roger, WILCO…Thanks Jason & Al…

  • Avatar of Mrs.A-Z
    Mrs.A-Z said ...

    Around 2007, back in high school, our teacher made us watch An Inconvenient Truth in biology class. I still remember how I was just staring at the blank wall when the movie ended and the teacher switched off the projector. I was different, I wanted to do something, I wanted to help spread the word so whereever I could I tried to let people know about the issue and the movie. Made presentations at university, drew stuff, and read a lot about the topic. Al Gore has been a big role model to me since that biology class, and I’m really happy (and jealous) that you are spending time with him. Wish I could help. I mean, I can, of course, but not much, considering I’m pretty much no one. Wish I could convince the Big Bosses of this world, to do something. But as Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” I hope inspiratioal and famous people like you and Mr Gore can make a difference and get this message to more “Big Boss” people around the world. Wish you the best, and keep us posted about this wonderful journey. I’m very jelly of those of you on that ship. What an unforgettable experience with such amazing people :) Take care Jason! xx

  • Avatar of Sheloveswinter

    “And how do we solve the climate crisis? By continuing to solve the climate crisis.”

    Huh? You had our attention (all hands on deck) and then
    no “Here is what YOU can do to help” link at the end : (
    You are our go-to-guy for all things healthy for the planet…
    well,accept maybe pot smoking when your not sick (xo)
    “I’ll be patiently waiting” I’m sure you have something brewing…

  • Avatar of corinneem
    corinneem said ...

    still have the dvd of All Gore here…and we see it also at school….it’s nice to see and hear that he’d touched you too Jason….the world is changing…that will always be….but let us please be carefull with our influences in no-natural changes….let’s take care for our world

  • Avatar of aclonfire
    aclonfire said ...

    that is absolutely beautiful :) we will save our world ♥ because we have to

  • Avatar of nicaroco
    nicaroco said ...

    Challenge accepted!

  • Avatar of Nikkiw83
    Nikkiw83 said ...

    So inspiring. I try to do my part! :)

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    I have a lot of respect for VP Gore. Voted for him as Pres. infact. Often wonder if the last decade would have been better for America if popular vote determined the election in this country. Thanks for sending out the message in the bottle.

  • Avatar of kratochvilka
    kratochvilka said ...

    I got the message… Over and out…

  • Avatar of robert.j.rhodes

    I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Gore speak at a conference a couple of years ago. He is nothing like his political persona forced him to be.

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