Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore, Nobel Laureate

Like many folks, I wake up to the transistorized sound of a local radio station. We set the alarm about 20 minutes before we really need to get up, then hit the snooze button a couple of times until consciousness takes hold.

As I lay in my sleepy stupor this morning, I heard the newscaster's words float through the air: Al; Gore; Nobel; Peace; Prize.

I snapped to attention just as the guy made a nasty he-invented-the-Internet joke about him. If I had been more awake at the time, I might have thought about the newscaster's total lack of journalistic objectivity. But this is a has-been, small-market FM station, so it's not as if the quality bar was very high to begin with.

But enough about stupid old white guy radio people. Back to Mr. Gore. We can disagree with his politics, laugh at his near-comatose image and relegate his name to the biggest loser of all time bin for his 2000 election loss to Dubya. But there's more to this man than history seems to have assumed.

He has succeeded in bringing the issue of the environment, its future and our future to a mainstream audience. Where granola-chomping tree-huggers have repeatedly tried and failed to get the rest of us to pay attention, Mr. Gore has used his film, An Inconvenient Truth, as a platform for informed discussion. Astute poltico that he is, he long ago realized that zealotry wasn't the vehicle of choice for this kind of thing.

In some ways, he has already succeeded in changing the world by forcing us to view it in a different light. He's reframed the discussion, removing it from the grip of partisan politics and giving us hope that the planet isn't doomed to a cynically apocalyptic fate a la Futurama, that we have the ability to make things better before they become irreversibly worse.

He defines the concept of Tikkun Olam, the Jewish ideal of repairing our world. Pretty inspiring stuff from where I sit, and pretty worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Mazel tov, Mr. Gore.

Your turn: What are you doing to repair our world?

20 comments:

Chele76 said...

I completely agree wiht you. I would be very glad to see Al Gore receive the Nobel Peace Prize... An Inconvenient truth was an amazing way of opening our eyes to what is going on. I know that I have made it important in my life to do my role in educating people and changing my lifestyle to be environmentally consious... it does not take a lot... but we have to take those steps and we CAN make a difference.

Bob-kat said...

Well done to Mr Gore adn kudos for standing up and doing something.

I am currently donating to good causes via direct debit adn at the moment I am putting together shoeboxes of gifts to give to needy children for Christmas. I also recycle. It's not much but I do what I can.

Michele sent me to say hi.

sister AE said...

I use the following in our Passover Haggadah: "You are not obligated to complete the task [of creating a better world] in your lifetime, but neither must you refuse to do your unique part."

I hadn't though about Gore's contributions in that way, but I suppose I should. Thanks for the idea.

captain lifecruiser said...

Throwing partys... *giggles*

Welcome to our spooktacular blog warming party today - if you dare.... *giggles*

Everybody is welcome :-)

Jeremiah Andrews said...

I saw the report this morning as well. A well deserved award. Maybe now he will run for president.

We could only hope!

Funny that, the notion of Tikkun Olam, it has permeated the veil of secular life. Judaic tradition flourishes before us. What a gift and a reminder.

Jeremy

Shephard said...

I've always liked Gore. :) And I think "loser" will be a term that history will veto for him. :) Couldn't agree with you more.

Michele sent me today,
~S

Janet said...

I was so happy to hear of this! An Inconvenient Truth was an eye opening movie in many ways.

Hi, Michele sent me :-)

kimberly said...

Al Gore is, like Jimmy Carter, a politician who has had as much, if not more, impact on the world since leaving office than he had while in office. I think the award is well-deserved. This is not to say that I think he should stay out of politics; I wish he were running for president this time around.

What am I doing to repair our world? Trying to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as possible. We buy our food mostly at farmers markets (reducing fuel used for transporting it), we're about to sell our second car(and use public transit more). We recycle and compost as much as we can (Seattle has great programs for both); our 30-gallon trash can is rarely half full each week.

kenju said...

I don't do enough, Carmi. I do recycle and I try to buy green, but I could do more.

AMEN to your comments about Gore. I hope he throws his hat in the ring for Prez again. I think he could win! And you know what? I have met him twice, and he is not nearly as stiff as he appears on TV. He's just not a good people person. His ideas are great, though, and I agree with what you said!

Bob-kat said...

Michele sent me back to say that I agree. Al Gore will long be remembered for his efforts to change things. Nice post :)

Sara said...

Hi Carmi, Michele sent me tonight to let you know that I am thrilled that Al Gore, Jr. won the Nobel Prize. I, of course, was not thrilled with the snooty congratulations that were extended to him by the obnoxious SOB that currently is our President.

The funny thing was that I was at the library today and checked out the movie - An Inconvenient Truth - and had not heard that he had won.

I took a quiz recently - and I found out that I do a lot (even though small things) to keep our environment healthy.

Jessica Foster said...

I was glad to see the man who should be my president be honored! He's actually DOING something. So few politicians are....

My part? I'm volunteering after school to help kids with homework, I work on a playground and I do marketing for a non-profit which provides free English Language classes and GED preparation classes. But it doesn't feel like enough. I see the kids on the playground and realize I'm so fortunate. I'm looking into volunteering with Global Volunteers next summer for a vacation with a purpose.

Becky68 said...

I Agree that Gore should have more recognition for all he's done & a lot more respect.
As for your question- I drive a fairly gas -efficient vehicle & recycle as much as possible.
Michele sent me today

MissMeliss said...

I've just gotten back in the habit of listening to morning radio while I have my first mug of coffee - for me, the morning station is my local NPR affiliate, but today the story was the same.

An interviewer asked him if he ever played the "what if" game, and imagined an alternative universe where he'd won the election, and his response was actually very funny.

He has more depth than most of us realized, in many more ways than just his environmental causes.

Michele sent me on this visit. :)

Charles in HK said...

I am with you on this one. Despite all the bashing Gore gets, I thought his film was quite well balanced, really well done and a positive instrument for change.

On another note... er, just coaching you for your own NPP when the time comes (and I'm sure it will)... I once read, "you are what you listen to." So what are you doing listening to has-been, small-market FM stations? Eh?

Hope you're well.

kenju said...

Michele sent me back, carmi. It is interesting to see all the other comments about Gore.

Melody said...

Hi Carmi! It's been a while...

To begin with I recently changed all my lightglobe fittings to the long life, energy efficent ones. Cost us a bloody small fortune but I know I'm not harming the planet 'as much'. I basically refuse plastic bags, I much rather my 'funky shopping bags' which I often get comments about. I tend to think twice about using the car and I read my newspapers online. I also tend to turn my appliances off at the wall... Yeah, I could go on.... *smile*

Joy T. said...

I couldn't agree more with you Carmi. I was thrilled to hear Mr. Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. I certainly know he's opened 'my' eyes to environmental issues.

David said...

i fixed a leaky shower, and that is part of my sister's world. and I got a cash prize, though less than a million.

David said...

i planted three trees this year