Some thoughts on Al Gore

According to The Guardian, Al Gore – the man behind the Oscar winning film on global warming “An inconvenient truth” is currently writing another book entitled Path To Survival which is due out in April next year.

Path to Survival is about solutions to the climate change crisis that will generate new jobs, propel sustainable economic improvements and inspire a new generation to help clean up the mess we’re leaving behind. It should be an interesting read.

While on the topic, if this type of thing is of interest to you, I’d like to recommend “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble”; written by Lester R. Brown from the Earth Policy Institute. There’s an online version of the book which is free – it’s riveting stuff.

Anyhow, back to Al Gore; you probably know that from 1993 to 2001, he was the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States, under Bill Clinton. He also narrowly lost the presidency in the 2000 election to George Bush in one of the most controversial elections in American history.

He certainly hasn’t let the grass grow under his feet since that time. There was “An Inconvenient Truth”, followed by a political book and more recently the Live Earth concerts. Love him or loathe him, I do believe the world owes him a great deal for making the threat of global warming mainstream.

Something that does bother me though is the continued rumors that he may run for President again. There’s an old saying that goes “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It’s an incredibly strong person that can become embroiled in politics at that level and not sell out.

Do you think Al Gore is made of that sort of stuff? I’m not sure – not because of anything that I’ve heard or read about him, but because of human nature. Just about everyone has their price and my fear is that if he were to gain the presidency, then that would take away from the crucial work he’s doing in relation to the climate change issue. While there are many global warming crusaders, Al’s likely one of the best connected. Would his potency in this role be diluted if made President?

When the Democrats wrested control of the Senate from the Republicans last year, many in the progressive and green movement felt that this would lead to some major positive changes on a number of issues. They haven’t materialized. To gain power usually means selling out to a degree – compromises are made and although the intention is to return to the original platform and ideals; the road to hell is paved with good intentions. As deals are struck behind closed doors, the good motivations are slowly and quietly strangled.

We recently experienced this in Australia with a very popular activist and celebrity who entered into politics. He seemed so solid, so strong in his ideals; but since gaining his power, he’s flip-flopping on some very important issues. These are no doubt compromises for what he considers “the greater good”; but it’s a slippery path he’s now on.

I strongly feel that some types of people are far more effective nipping at the heels of power, keeping the bastards honest as we say in Australia, rather than becoming the power. Perhaps Al Gore is one of those people? What are your thoughts?