Former Vice President Al Gore has been interested in environmental conservation since he was a teenager. He says remembers reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, being influenced by the national recognition of Earth Day and the Club of Rome report “The Limits to Growth.” When we was elected to congress in 1976, he quickly became a leading spokesperson on environmental issues, and sponsored several congressional hearings and leadership roundtables on climate issues. As a senator, Al Gore presided over a three day conference that worked to create a plan that promoted growth and protected the environment at the same time.
In 1994, Al Gore used his position as vice president to launch the GLOBE Program. GLOBE is a primary and secondary school focused education program that uses science and environmental literature to educate children on environmental challenges and stewardship. It also invites students and teacher to participate in real time environmental research. Also as vice president, Gore was a vocal supporter of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which aimed for carbon emissions to be reduced globally with an effort by countries within the United Nations. The United States ultimately did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but Al Gore signed it as a symbol of his support.
Regardless of your political views, or how you feel about Al Gore, he has never wavered on his stand for environmental support. In 1976, Gore became a member of the House of Representatives and held the “first congressional hearings on the climate change, and co-sponsored hearings on toxic waste and global warming.”
In the 1980s Gore spoke on similar topics, dubbing him one of the Atari Democrats (later called Democrats’ Greens.) The Republican Party slammed him for “using” environmental issues such as clean air, clean water and global warming to win victories for their party.
During Gore’s political career in the late 80s and early 90s, he continued on his mission to help the environment. As a Senator, Gore raised alarm when he published an editorial in the Washington Post espousing humans were in a new type of relationship with the planet. He claimed, in 1989, “The world’s forests are being destroyed; an enormous hole is opening in the ozone layer. Living species are dying at an unprecedented rate.” The statements were promptly denied by the GOP.
This was partly what prompted leaders from over 42 countries to come to the table for a three-day conference that Gore presided over. The legislators aimed to create a plan, known as the Global Marshall Plan, to get industrialized nations to work together with smaller countries so they would still be able to grow economically while protecting the environment.
After an outdated electoral college kept Al Gore from presidency in 2000, he went on to launch Generation Investment Management, a company that focuses on environmentally friendly investing. While he still serves as chair for the investment firm, Gore also started a media organization called We Can Solve It, and frequently tours the country giving lectures and hosting conference focused on climate change. In 2010 two of his foundations merged to create the Climate Reality Project, which funded an expedition to the Antarctic. Through these organizations and platforms Gore has led campaigns to promote renewable energy, stop coal power and promote climate science.
Today, Al Gore remains most active in the Climate Reality Project, but most likely will be most remembered for the film An Inconvenient Truth, which brought shocking and compelling information to the masses about the seriousness of global warming. The film was incredibly popular and sparked wide interest from Hollywood. Al Gore’s latest book, The Future: Six Driver of Global Change, lays out a detailed plan in how the United States can continue to be a world leader and a force for sustainable global development.
Gore is also known for his contribution to the literary genre with the book “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was later made into a film.