Al Gore, besides being one of my personal heroes, is arguably one of the most visible and influential environmental leaders of our time. Gore was born in 1948, and even as a teenager, growing up in the 1960’s, he had a great awareness and concern for the natural world. For instance, he remembers his mother reading Silent Spring to him and being horrified with the abuse of the earth. One must take note that his distress over the matter, at that time, is really quite remarkable as conservationism was unheard of in the 60s, and the “green movement” is very much a recent undertaking. However, his early involvement allowed for Gore to become one of today’s most important environmental leaders.
As time went on and Gore got into politics, his passion for the environment remained. For instance, in 1994 Gore created the GLOBE program to help raise awareness of the issue with students. Or, in one of his most daring moves, he opposed the U.S. Senate by supporting the Kyoto Protocol, which called on the United Nations members to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Gore soon became known for calling various congressional hearings on climate change and global warming. Gore also had a huge role in creating the Global Marshall Plan intended to help developing nations grow in a way that was environmentally responsible.
Furthermore, in what I personally believe to be Gore’s most significant act, he released the documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. I can honestly say that I would not have the same environmental passion I have today without this film. In it Gore discusses various topics such as global warming, the many affects it has been having on the world, and human responsibility in the matter. I still remember pulling it out of the Netflix sleeve, and my perspective on the world being forever changed. (Link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Gore continues to travel all over the world raising awareness for this issue. While someone like Wendell Berry may protest, Gore makes sure to counterbalance the carbon emitted in his travels by buying carbon offsets—besides, I think the change he causes with each lecture is compensation enough. Finally, Gore has also played a part in organizing Live Earth, a concert series devoted to raising awareness for climate change. Gore has been dedicate to reversing climate change for decades, and deserves to be counted among the top environmental leaders of the modern world.