class of 30 students to “get ready,” warning them that they too might be inspired by a class on the environment.
Over 30 years earlier, the former vice president said that he had occupied a seat in the very same Sever classroom where yesterday he presented a speech to the students of Environmental Science and Public Policy 10, “Introduction to Environmental Science and Public Policy.”
In a presentation complete with slides and TV show excerpts, Gore drove home the importance of the environment and students’ role in its improvement.
“The difficulty with politics and science is that people think the world is so vast, that we can’t possibly affect it,” Gore said.
“We have the choice with the political system to challenge wealth and power with reason and conscience,” Gore later added. “We have big choices to make, these are not normal times, and we have to keep our eyes on the prize.”
Gore specifically addressed global warming—its effects and political apathy towards the subject matter.
He introduced the topic with a cartoon clip entitled, “Global Warming or None Like it Hot,” from Futurama. Characters depicting the earth’s carbon dioxide and sunlight elicited laughter from the audience.
Gore followed this viewing with a scientific explanation of global warming, its implications and possible policy action.
Gore highlighted how global warming causes glaciers to melt. As temperatures rise, he said, the Everglades and Florida Keys—both in the state that cost him the 2000 presidential election—will soon be engulfed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
“This is reckless, insane and criminal to [ignore global warming],” Gore said. “At this current rate, the Everglades and Florida Keys will disappear.”
This melting will cause a drastic change in the ratio of temperature between the equator and poles, which in turn will affect global currents, according to Gore.
“This is a huge area of vulnerability,” Gore said. “The earth’s climate is a non-linear system. We’re playing with fire in a global experiment.”
“We’re witnessing the collision between human civilization and the earth,” he added.
Gore indicated three main factors responsible for global warming: population explosion, the technological and scientific revolution and human thinking.
He said humans act illogically toward the environment, holding on to old habits in the face of new technology. These habits and technology result in consequences that are environmentally damaging.