|Subject:||Al Gore speaks on climate change.|
I just returned from watching Al Gore speak in Wheeler. I didn't even know he was going to be there today; i just happened to get an e-mail announcement from someone who was giving out extra tickets.
I'm very impressed. He was compelling and also hilarious — never did i expect i would get to see a Vice President of the United States doing the voices for a Simpsons cartoon about global warming (the audio on the clip went out, so he decided to do it himself). He drew laughter and applause upon calling himself a "recovering politician." In response to Orville Schell's question, "Was it difficult?", he said "Look, i flew on Air Force Two for eight years and now i have to take off my shoes to get on an airplane." Among the questions on cards from the audience were one asking him out to dinner and a one that said "I just want you to know that i love you."
I had just been talking to metamouse over dinner this evening about how politicians speak and wondering why they don't use visual aids to talk about the facts. Gore's presentation was slick, well put together, and full of charts and movies and photographs that gave compelling direct evidence of the effects of global warming.
There's Al Gore, and there's the huge crowd of people surrounding him at the end of the talk. I walked up and shook his hand, and he smiled at the sight of my Dean sweatshirt.
Although climate change was his main topic, he spent a lot of time slamming the media and the political system again and again for the lack of public understanding. He said our democracy was in crisis: the lobbyists write the laws, people don't know the facts, and politicians are devoting more effort to raising money for television ads than making good decisions. And he lamented the way television has crushed the printed word — the Enlightenment would be viewed by historians, he said, as the period that started with the invention of the printing press and ended with the invention of television. He emphasized this problem a great deal, but didn't propose many specific things to do about it, though he did cite a project that he was working on.