Al Gore, our Oscar-winning, Nobel Peace Prize-champ former vice president, spoke tonight as part of “The Minds That Move the World” speaker series at Boston's Wang Theatre. He called on people to work to end carbon dioxide emissions to head off rising sea levels and other disasters of global warming. He also touched on the state of democracy, the economic crisis, and President Barack Obama’s progress. Here are some things he said:
• “Our democracy has suffered some damage. And I think that the reliance on 30 second ads, and the dominance of big money in politics that is driven in part by the reliance on those 30 second ads, has really done some damage to the democratic process.”• “The average American watches television four and a half hours a day. Think about it. If you played tennis four and a half hours a day, you’d really develop your muscles. If you’re watching television four and a half hours a day what muscles are you developing? Certainly not the democracy muscle.”• “I remember in January ’93 when Bill Clinton and I entered the White House t here were 50 sites on the Internet. Five-oh.”• “I don’t think there’s any position that has the ability to bring about more change than the position of the president.”• “Where the new [Obama] administration is concerned, let’s take a breath and realize he’s been in there two months. He didn’t create this.” • “I hear people criticize [Obama] for trying to do too much. I don’t share that. I have been in the White House and I’ve seen how the dynamics can work. He’s got a window of opportunity right now.”
• “We need to create jobs. One of the best way to do this is to put people to work insulating houses, putting in energy-efficient windows, planting trees … These jobs can’t be outsourced. This is the best way to solve the economic crisis.”• “There’s going to be in this generation the most massive shift in energy production in history. And it’s going to create jobs.”• “Martin Luther King, Jr., said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Increased CO2 emissions anywhere represent a threat to human civilization everywhere.”• “If [our descendents] see all around them the unfolding of the unprecedented tragedies the scientists were predicting they’ll have every right to look back and say: ‘What where they thinking?’ … If they look around them and see a world in renewal … I want them to look back and say: ‘How did they rise up and find the courage to solve this crisis?’”• “There’s an old African saying: If you want to go quickly go alone; if you want to go far go together. We need to go far quickly.”
Photos by Greg Cook.