Conversations on Google+: Al Gore

Conversations on Google+: Al Gore

This is a Google+ Conversation with Al Gore and Jeff Skoll which streamed live on June 11, 2013 about how we can work together to combat climate change. The conversation was expertly moderated by Dr. Kiki Sanford, scientist and science journalist, who currently hosts the radio show and podcast, This Week in Science.

Seven years ago former Vice President Gore and Executive Producer Jeff Skoll released An Inconvenient Truth. This Academy Award-winning documentary kick-started a conversation about climate change, a pressing issue that affects us all.

Seven years later – Al Gore wanted to hear from you, now he has. His YouTube video inviting people to participate in this Conversation received more than 2.5 million views. Thousands of people joined the Science on G+ Community to share their ideas and questions. Gore and Skoll watched the conversations in the community blossom and selected five of the most insightful contributors to join for today’s live discussion. I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in the conversation myself, due to my work in growing and maintaining the Science on G+ community.

Here are just a few of the questions posed, along with their responses:

One of the final, major questions posed in the movie was, ‘are we capable of doing great things even though they are difficult?’ Are we? Will we solve the climate crisis before it’s too late? And, how do we overcome the politicization of climate change?

Al Gore: Yes and yes. We can and will solve this crisis. Policies are advancing: the EU has a cap and trade system, China has a pilot program in place, other countries are setting renewable energy targets and in many cases are far exceeding the goals they’ve set. There are now more solar jobs in California than there are actors, and more in Texas than there are ranchers. Wind power is already about the same price as electricity from fossil fuels in some areas In 2010, investment in renewable energy outpaced investments in Dirty Energy for the first time. Political will is also a renewable resource we can take advantage of.

Jeff Skoll: Before the film is released, polls suggested that less than 30% of Americans believed global warming was a real issue. After the film’s release 87% of Americans said it is an issue of concern (Time Magazine poll). This has since eroded. Today 58% say it is an issue of concern.

After the release of the film, people were incredibly motivated to do what they could to combat climate change, and a big part of this was the call to action at the end of the film. How did that work?

Jeff Skoll: The film ended with the question onscreen “Are you ready to change the way you live?” and then mixed in with the credits, were some specific behavioral changes that people could make to reduce their carbon emissions—things like buy energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, change your thermostat, recycle, etc. Little things that actually had a big impact. We also directed people to the film’s website. This proved to be extremely effective—so effective, in fact, that there was so much traffic to the site that it crashed Paramount’s server!

Now that the first of the Conversations on Google+ has taken place – who would YOU like to talk to next? What subject would you like to discuss? Let us know in the comments, and I will pass along any suggestions!

Andrij Harasewych

Although I ended up graduating from Villanova University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, a side passion of mine for the past decade has been business and marketing. After three years of working full time as a mechanical engineer, and part time as a freelancer, success in my freelance work motivated me to alter my path and focus fully on marketing.

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