TED Day 1 – Al Gore Speech

- Intro: “I am Al Gore, I used to be the next President of America.” Audience laughs. Gore, “I don’t think that’s funny.”
- We are facing a planetary emergency. Collision btwn civilization and resources. There’s an old cliché that the Chinese word for crisis has two characters – one signifying danger and the other opportunity. We are presented with the possibility of turning the global crisis to an opportunity.
- The assumption that the earth is so big that we can’t have any significant impact on it is dangerous.
- The ten hottest years on record have occurred in the last fourteen levels. Essentially carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at a crazy all time high. Ocean temperature levels are also at an all time high. These has resulted in stronger storms. 2004 record year for tornados in U.S. Japan all time record for typhoons in 2004. Katrina = perfect example of where global warming is leading us. Three weeks after Katrina, Rita hit then Wilma, which was the strongest hurricane over. Then they ran out of names and had to move to Greek names for the first time ever. (He showed lots of dramatic slides showing the effects of global warming).
- Ironically, global warming causes more flooding and more drought. Effect is most dramatic in Africa. Warm air doesn’t just raise water levels that result in flooding it also sucks moisture out of the soil leading to drought. Also changes in seasons that have impact on surrounding ecologies. We are also in the midst of the sixth extinction crisis and witnessing a crop of new diseases e.g. avian flu, SARs (this depressing enough yet???).
- The two canaries in the minefield –cracks in the Artic ice cap and Antartica.
- What are the biggest misconceptions about this issue: 1) That there is confusion about whether global warming is a fact or theory – it’s a fact!; 2) That there is tension between economic growth and addressing global warming – but what happens when there is no planet…zero growth; 3)problem is to big to solve – lots of people go straight from denial to despair without pausing to see what can be done about the problem.
- United States should be leading the world on this issue – we need to ask how can we the skills, opportunities, democracy we have to address this problem.

5 comments to TED Day 1 – Al Gore Speech

  • Thank you for this! It is a very depressing situation, but a true leader (like a think he is) makes you feel like there is something that can be done about it, delineates a vision and gives the first steps to tackling problems. None of that ‘faith based stuff’ of GW.

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