Friday, July 20, 2007

Al Gore: a Help or Hindrance?

It is almost taken for granted that Al Gore has made an immeasurable contribution to the cause of fighting global warming, nearly single-handedly it sometimes seems moving the issue from the green edges of society into the mainstream. Yet, on Earth Meanders blog Glen Barry strongly criticizes Gore’s strategy when he says:

I am concerned with the direction Al Gore, as the self-appointed climate movement leader, is taking -- emphasizing celebrity and inadequate small personal responses, to the detriment of grassroots inspired major cultural change necessary to save the Earth.

Perhaps a bigger problem of Gore leading the charge is that he is a polarizing figure. Millions of conservatives don’t like him, Bill, or Hillary. Although he says this should not be a partisan issue it is hard to see how it can not be if he is the one out in front. There must be many people who won’t listen to his recommendations simply because he is Al Gore.

Despite all the problems with the second half of the Clinton-Gore ticket being seen at the leader in the fight to stop global warming and all the celebrities he has enlisted in the cause it still must be acknowledged that he is capable of reaching people in the mainstream with his message that grassroots environmentalists have no way of reaching. These are probably people who tend to closely follow the world of celebrities in television, film, music, sports, etc but do not pay much attention to “serious” political issues. Gore has somehow bridged the gap. But I guess it is Barry’s point that in doing so there is a trade off in that the suggested changes can not be too radical, even it that is what it takes to deal with the problem which Barry and many others have concluded.

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