Thursday, 3 March 2016

Al Gore’s TED Talk: The Case for Optimism on Climate Change

Author: Harley Nadler

Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was a message of distress intended to provoke action against climate change. This month, the former Vice President gave a TED talk in Vancouver which was far more hopeful. While he began with acknowledgment that consequences of climate change are worse than ever. He made the point that the rate in which we were combating the phenomenon may yet outpace the damage that has been done to the planet so far.

Fundamentally, Gore’s talk is an example of how we can set goals and surpass them several times over. In his example, Gore used realities technology and economics to propose that sustainable energy would become the dead-cheapest way to power anything in developed nations. However, in this particular talk, he did not say how long this process would take.

Worth noting, as was the case with An Inconvenient Truth, there is no call to action for individuals in the fight against climate change. This is understandable given Al Gore’s background as a maker of public policy. Yet, we can view the points made by Gore and extrapolate them to guide individual efforts.

Set reasonable goals for yourself or your household and see if you can beat them. For example, your goal may be as simple as filling one recycling bin a week, taking public transit or cycling to work once a week, or during the heat down one-degree in your home (or much lower on the spring-like days we’ve been having!). Achieving one or two of these, or other, simple goals can make a meaningful impact in your everyday sustainable living.

Harley Nadler is a 3rd year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Education at McGill University. He holds a Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) in Pure & Applied Sciences and is currently studying with the goal of teaching science at the high school level. Harley is a big believer in sustainability education as a means of affecting public policy.

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