Thursday, March 26, 2009
Al Gore on a Unified Earth Theory
Al Gore responding to the standing ovation at TED (March 1, 2008) for his new slide show.
“In order to solve the climate crisis, we need to solve the democracy crisis.”
More Gore quotes from the talk:
"I was reminded by Karen Armstrong's presentation that if religion is not really about belief but about behaviour, maybe we should say the same thing about optimism. Optimism is often represented as an intellectual posture -- Gandhi's "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". But when we change our behaviour in our daily lives, we sometimes leave out the democracy and citizen part. In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to solve the democracy crisis, and we have one. There is a bridge between the climate crisis and the crisis of extreme poverty in our world. We have to find a unified Earth theory. The struggles of climate change and extreme poverty and disease are connected to the problems of overconsumption, wastefulness, and economic transformation. We have to approach this as a unified challenge.
Venus and the Earth are roughly the same size and have the same amount of carbon. On Earth, the carbon is trapped. On Venus, it's in the atmosphere -- and temperatures reach 855 degrees F.
Solution: put a price on carbon. We need a CO2 tax, revenue-neutral, to replace taxation on emplomyent, which was invented by Bismarck and some things have changed since then.
Sometimes I hear people respond to the disturbing facts of the climate crisis by saying "this is so terrible, what a burden". Let's reframe that: how many generations in all of human history have had the opportunity to rise to a challenge that is worthy of our best efforts, a challenge that can pull from us more that we knew we could do. We ought to approach this challenge with a sense of profound joy and gratitude that we are the generation that 1000 years from now, orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying: they were the ones that found within themselves the ability to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future."