One argument that Al Gore has heard time and again is that mainstream advocates for climate change are not paying attention to the spiritual problems that drive mankind to ignore the world’s natural systems and to continually consume, expand, and pollute. The argument states that the mainstream is altering and profiting from a system that is unjust.
The irony is that Gore knows that argument only too well: from his own perspective. His very first book, Art in the Balance, was largely advocating that very case. However, he has since admitted that that may just be too large of a problem for him to tackle so he narrowed his focus to climate change. His second documentary, therefore, didn’t at all delve into mankind’s spiritual problems, or even the issues surrounding global capitalism.
Educating the masses
Al Gore is not conceding that there is nothing we can do about climate change. He has worked hard in this area for a large part of his life, educating tens of thousands of individuals. He founded the Climate Project in 2006. He since merged it with his Alliance for Climate Protection in 2011, the result of which is known as Climate Reality Project. This project teaches people how to educate others. Gore attends each of his own training events, going through the slideshow with the audience.
In 2017, the organisation claimed to have given 23,764 presentations to over 1.87 million audience members. They have attended or convened 10,516 policy meetings and registered a total of 53,616 “acts of leadership”, a CPR term for efforts to communicate to the public or to lawmakers.
Sending out the troops
Each and every year, Gore sends out hordes of trained presenters all over the world to make a case for climate change. It’s difficult to assess how many of these presentations and meetings have any effect. It’s never an easy task to trace back any policy reforms to a particular act.
Gore’s strategy is built on his own faith that education leads to knowledge leads to action leads to progress. It’s a strategy not keeping in with modern times but that hasn’t prevented him from continuing to apply it. No longer is he interested in arguing with flat-earthers or political journalists. He instead travels around the world to meet those who want to hear his message.
Gore never relied on personality and charm in the way that that Obama or Clinton did. Some said he was too professional and self-conscious. The welcome he receives at his events, however, is genuine. The audience members don’t care about how he chooses to present himself. They come to learn how to pass on his message to other willing students.
Gore’s belief in a logical persuasion as a way of promoting democratic change may be in contrast with the current political climate. But when Gore talks about the planet and our need to restore it to its natural state, we feel his passion and we hear his logic that just maybe we can do something about it.