I’ve never written about the same topic on both Treehugger and sustainablog in the same evening, but I think Al Gore’s speech yesterday at New York University’s School of Law deserves that kind of attention. In short, it was brilliant! Gore tread on ground few politicians would dare (perhaps made easier by his current role of “elder statesman” versus political candidate) to offer a bold, courageous plan for addressing the climate crisis (his term). While the speech is chock-full of ideas that many will label politically infeasible (only because most current politicians are cowards), it’s definitely the most far-reaching, systematic and downright practical approach to global warming that we’ve seen come from anyone on the world stage. Taking ideas from Paul Hawken, Lester Brown, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, the Apollo Alliance and many others, Gore showed not only an amazing grasp of the issues (much like he did in An Inconvenient Truth), but also an ability to present a genuine vision of a more sustainable world. There’s little doom and gloom in the speech (as Amanda Griscom-Little points out) — he’s focused on solutions. We need so much more of this kind of big thinking in our political debate — it’s a shame to think that Gore’s the only person even marginally involved in politics that can make these kinds of worldchanging connections.
Rather than give bits and pieces, I encourage you to read the whole thing, and then to come back here and let us know what you think. I still don’t think Gore will run for president (sorry, Shea), but if he does, this kind of talk will allay any accusations of dullness. Future candidate or not, we owe Gore a debt of gratitude for bringing these concepts into the mainstream political debate.
PS: Just saw that Carl Pope labeled the speech the most important of Gore’s life.
Another PS: My Treehugger piece will be up in the morning. Took a more neutral stance there (we try to keep from taking sides politically), but you don’t have to be a diehard Democrat to recognize the boldness of Gore’s ideas.