Chairman's Award

There is urgency in the unmistakable voice. “There are new scientific studies coming out every week now. All of them point in the same direction,” says Al Gore. “Global warming is occurring far more rapidly than anyone thought. The damage being done to the integrity of the Earth’s ecological system is quite severe. It is a true planetary emergency. We must solve it with reductions of global-warming pollution and the completion of a new global treaty at the end of this year in Copenhagen.”

The former U.S. vice president is not just reading from the script of his 2006 Academy Award-winning film. Things have gotten a lot worse. Recent evidence shows that all of Antarctica is warming.

All of it. Some scientists had thought that eastern Antarctica was cooling as the rest of the continent was warming. Not so. Now it is clear that the whole thing is in hot water. If you want something to keep you awake at night, just remember Gore’s slide show presentation of the expanding oceans invading low-lying populations around the world. Exactly where do you live?

“There is also evidence that the oceans are suffering serious harm from the dumping of 25 million tons of CO2 every 24 hours,” adds Gore. “Oceans may be reaching a limit on their ability to absorb more CO2, which is ominous. Because, if true, that could mean that atmospheric concentrations would rise even more rapidly.”

Gore brightens up a bit when asked about the impact of Hollywood in raising the alarm on the urgency of the issue.

“I’m very impressed with how many men and women in the entertainment industry have taken action to spread the word, delivering thoughtful and accurate messages about the climate crisis in ways that are more easily absorbed than in scientific studies,” he adds. “‘Wall-E’ was very entertaining and compelling. (And) that message was about the need to protect the Earth’s environment. And ‘Arctic Tale’ was one of my favorites. Not only because it was great, but because my daughter Kristin Gore was one of the principal writers.”

Gore also appreciates the success of his own creative effort in delivering the message.

“I’m most gratified by the number of people around the world who come up to me and say that as a result of seeing ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ they’ve made changes in their own lives. Many have become activists in starting local grassroots organizations, in their schools, in their businesses and in their communities. They see the urgency of reducing the impact of global warming.”

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