Gore: Youth must act to stop climate crisis

Citizens of planet earth are going to boil if they do not realize the earth is warming, former Vice President Al Gore told a group of approximately 6,400 students, faculty, staff and invited guests Wednesday evening.

Gore narrated his multimedia presentation of “An Inconvient Truth” as part of the University Lecture Series, which took place at the BankUnited Center. The film by the same name won two Oscars-best documentary and best song-at the 79th Academy Awards Sunday.

Gore used the boiling metaphor in relation to the story of the frog that was placed in a pot of boiling water, explaining how the creature leapt out as a result of the drastic temperature change. On the other hand, it would not leap out if placed in a lukewarm pot of water as the temperature is slowly increased.

With this analogy, Gore tried highlighting how people tend not to notice gradual change and feel that a problem will not affect them.

Gore opened with his now signature line: “I’m Al Gore, and I used to be the next president of the United States,” adding, “That’s not funny.” He also used a few light anecdotes to begin, with jokes dispersed throughout the presentation.

In spite of these light moments, the presentation was mostly serious in nature. Gore used images, simulations, statistics and figures to convey the enormity of the issue. However, he also noted that it is not too late and that global warming can be stopped.

“This earth is just beginning to slip from our grasp,” Gore said. “I want you to protect it and start the healing process.”

He told of how he has been studying climate change for 40 years and working to educate people for 30 years, first holding hearings as representative and then senator from Tennessee.

In addition, Gore discussed what he called a “collision between civilization and earth,” that dealt with population, the scientific and technological revolution, and “our way of thinking.”

Though he made a few jabs at the current administration, Gore repeatedly emphasized global warming is a bipartisan issue, drawing applause.

“This is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue,” he said. “And a spiritual one.”

Something else Gore discussed was the word “crisis”. He explained that, in Chinese, the word can mean both danger and opportunity.

“We have to walk through the danger and face it down in order to seize the opportunity,” he said. You’re generation will be more affected by it [climate change] than mine.

“We have the capacity for great things,” he continued. “If we set our minds to it, we know we can do it.”

Greg Linch may be contacted at g.linch@umiami.edu.