“Please become a part of the solution,” former vice-president Al Gore said last Thursday during a nationwide live webcast promoting his new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel.”
A decade after “An Inconvenient Truth” brought climate change into popular culture, Gore hopes the follow-up will show how close America is to a real energy revolution.
The new movie, screened for an audience at Oberlin College, presented an array of scientific facts supporting the case that global warming is real, man-made, and its effects will be cataclysmic if people don’t take immediate action.
Gore said the goal isn’t to distress viewers about the state of the climate, but to energize them to take action.
“If anyone doubts if we have the political will to fight this crisis, know that political will is a renewable resource,” he said, garnering a few laughs from the audience at Dye Lecture Hall.
“Use your vote, use your voice, use your choice,” Gore repeated throughout the broadcast. “Don’t be mean, don’t be hostile, but don’t let denial go unchallenged.”
Choosing climate-friendly alternatives sends a powerful signal to engineers, architects, and businesses, he said.
Hundreds of college students from around the country submitted questions for the 30-minute question-and-answer session. When asked, “What advice would you give to the current administration about climate action?” Gore smiled, “I would tell him to resign.”
The audience broke into applause when Olivia Vasquez’s question was read aloud by the moderator.
An environmental studies student at Oberlin College, she wanted to know, “How can we combine strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with initiatives to reduce inequality and create economic opportunities for low-income and underprivileged communities?”
After speaking to the growth of solar jobs in the United States, Gore provided what he said is a solution to both the climate crisis and income inequality: “Creating more good jobs and creating a new structure of decentralized energy that doesn’t suck the money out of pockets of low- and middle-income families, but gives them a chance to participate equitably.”
Grace Sievert, an Oberlin College student, lives in Miami and already sees water levels in the Florida Keys rising. “I feel like we are going to be underwater soon and that’s kind of scary,” she said.
Geology and environmental studies double major Cole Burchiel said people have increasingly become detached from the natural world. “I think it’s critical that we continue to educate people because it’s going to take a lifetime for us to enact some of these changes that truly will create a difference in the world,” he said.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.