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Al Gore’s message at IDKK event June 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.

‘This is our generation’s Thermopylae’

Speaking at the Grande Bretagne in Athens Wednesday, former US Vice President Al Gore proposed that we become ‘active citizens.’

Al Gore’s message at the IDKK event was > “This is our generation’s Thermopylae. We must become active citizens if we want our planet to have a future.” Former US Vice President Al Gore took a realistic approach in his speech Wednesday at the Constantine Karamanlis Democracy Institute (IDKK) as he emphasized the seriousness of the environmental threat facing the planet.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis spoke first, noting that Greece had ratified and complies with the Kyoto Protocol and that it would ask the education minister to distribute the DVD of Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” to every school in Greece.

Applause interrupted the Premier’s speech several times, indicating that the crowd that packed the Golden Room at the Hotel Grande Bretagne was not only partisan, but also environmentally aware. Besides, they had come to hear some grim truths about climate change from Gore, who has made the point repeatedly on his tour that if major political parties and economic decision-makers do not take drastic action, “Planet Earth is doomed.”

A charismatic, experienced speaker, with a gentle expression that endears him to his audience, Gore is himself a creation of globalization. The problem is global and he is its global herald. Referring to the presidential election he lost by a few thousand votes in 2000, Gore introduces himself with dry humor as “the former next president of the USA.” It was his wife Tipper who urged him to get involved with the greatest problem facing humankind, climate change, which is melting polar ice. Since then he has traveled the world with film crews to record the changes, floods, drought, unsettled weather and the slow but steady rise in temperature. “Katrina came, New Orleans was flooded. Trouble came knocking on our door and forced us to face the truth. And the truth is that our planet is being continually overheated by gas emissions, excessive energy consumption, rising population and corresponding environmental problems. The planet is our home and it is seriously ill. In 35 years’ time, if we don’t take measures now, there will be no North Pole. The ice will have melted, the oceans will have risen, with unforeseeable consequences. This is the slogan of my world tour. The climate change that has begun demands that we all become active citizens if we want our planet to have a future. Like the 300 Spartans of Leonidas, we must guard our Thermopylae. This is our generation’s Thermopylae. This is our time to act,” he said to warm applause.

Earlier Karamanlis had spoken with equal eloquence on the great problem facing this generation, the four seasons that have dwindled to two, just summer and winter. The Greek Premier was resolutely upbeat, however, insisting that optimism is more effective than pessimism. Gore recommended seizing the bull by the horns before it gets into the china shop. “They say I am a voice crying in the wilderness, but it is not a wilderness yet,” he said, adding that our children will either ask why we adults didn’t do something while there was still time or praise us for finding the courage to save the world.

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