al-gore-coverPhoto © Michael Collopy
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Interview: Maranda Pleasant
Photography: Michael Collopy

Maranda Pleasant: What are you passionate about?

Al Gore: I feel passionate about solving the climate crisis. We are putting 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day. I think this is by far the most pressing challenge to the survival of human civilization as we know it. But I’m also passionate about restoring the efficacy of American democracy, making capitalism sustainable, prioritizing advances in technology, and seizing the opportunities to use that kind of innovation to help usher in a new economy that doesn’t rely on carbon-spewing fossil fuels.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

al-gore_quote01AG: Help us solve the climate crisis. Believe in the power of your own voice. The more noise you make, the more accountability you demand from your leaders, the more our world will change for the better. Political will is a renewable resource, and everyone can have it in abundance if they so choose.

MP: Tell us about your latest projects and why they’re so important to you.

AG: Although I have a variety of obligations, the climate crisis is my central concern. That’s why I work with the nonprofit I founded and chair, the Climate Reality Project, to share the science of climate change, tell stories of how climate change affects each of us as individuals, and call out the deniers and those who profit by keeping us addicted to dirty fuels. This past summer alone, I was honored to hold two separate Climate Reality Leadership Corps trainings in Istanbul and Chicago. We trained nearly 2,000 new local leaders to bring the reality of climate change to their communities and inspire action. Upcoming trainings will be in Brazil and South Africa.

MP: How can we all get involved to make an impact?

AG: When it comes to climate, we can all make a big difference. At the most basic level, don’t let denial go unchallenged and win the conversation on climate. Additionally, making consumer choices that reward eco-friendly products and companies is a great way to start. You can also push your local communities to adopt more sustainable sources of energy and environmentally-friendly practices.

al-gore_bwPhoto © Michael Collopy

But remember that the problem is bigger than the car you drive or the types of lightbulbs in city hall. We need a fundamental shift away from dirty fossil fuels that spew carbon pollution. To make that happen, we need to put pressure on our leaders to take the bold actions necessary to move us off dirty sources of energy. We need to put a price on carbon. This needs to be a priority for all of us in how we vote. The choice has never been so stark.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

al-gore_quote02AG: The truth is that climate change is presenting the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. The truth is that we’re at a critical juncture in the history of our species and if we don’t act soon, we could inhabit a world we don’t recognize anymore. But the most important truth is that we are capable of stopping climate change before the worst of its consequences are locked in. The solutions exist—all we need is the will to do something about it.

MP: Any other cause or organizations that you are passionate about?

AG: I was honored to serve as an elected official for twenty-four years of my life. But right now, I believe our democratic processes have been hacked. They are not serving the best interests of the American public. I am a passionate advocate of getting special interest money out of politics. The constant drive for campaign dollars has distorted decision-making in Washington, DC, to the point where our systems can no longer effectively address complex, long-term problems like the climate crisis. Which brings me to my other major concern—the short-term focus of capitalism. It distorts the allocation of resources and the decision-making processes of companies. I work to promote the idea of sustainable capitalism driven by long-term considerations rather than quarterly profits, which seeks to better people’s lives and the planet rather than destroy them.

MP: Why are you a part of the Social Good Summit?

al-gore_tri02Photos © Michael Collopy

AG: Last year, I used the Social Good Summit to announce our twenty-four-hour live-streamed event, 24 Hours of Reality, to the world. At this year’s Summit, we’ll debut the format for this year’s program. This summit is unique in how it brings together the leading minds in technology and social justice to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. The talent, passion, and commitment exemplified by the speakers and attendees are phenomenal. I’m looking forward to harnessing these great minds to catalyze action to solve the climate crisis.


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