The Reality of Climate ChangeBy Rocky Thompson on September 16th, 2011
Last night I attended Al Gore’s latest presentation and the culmination of his latest event, 24 Hours of Reality. It began a day earlier, and a presentation was held hourly in every time zone around the world and streamed live to anyone who cared to watch.
The goal of the talk is to rally the masses to acknowledge reality — that climate change exists. He focused on the extreme weather that’s becoming the new normal: the floods in Pakistan that displaced millions, the extreme drought in Texas that led to massive fires, the tropical storm that destroyed homes in Vermont a couple weeks back. Yes, a tropical storm in Vermont, not Puerto Rico. He labored on the point that the academies of science in every single nation in the world and 97% of climate researchers agree that climate change is caused by humans. It’s not a matter of whether you believe but whether you’re willing to accept widely held beliefs by everyone in the science community. He spoke eloquently, comparing the climate change naysayers to those in big tobacco who declared nicotine non-addictive even as they struggled to find new customers while theirs died of lung disease.
And I’d say the room was maybe two-thirds full. The broadcast beamed around the world was watched by 8 million people. That’s a million less than the parody of that popular wedding dance video (which originally saw 69 million views) that was on YouTube.
So what does this mean? Well, hardly anyone is listening. And even fewer people are doing anything.
His suggestion was simple. Not unplug-your-cell-phone-charger-when-you’re-not-using-it simple, but still simple. He said: I’ve had some experience in politics. Here’s what you do. You call your representative and you say, “This is important to me. I’m watching what you do. And if you do what’s right, I’ll support you to get reelected. And if don’t, I’ll do everything in my power to ensure your defeat.”
I can do that. And honestly, it’ll feel nice to tell a politician just that.