Over the years, climate change has increasingly become a global concern for humanity, demonstrated by Sustainable Development Goal 13 on Climate Action which reminds us all of the need to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations. The Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 was awarded to Albert Gore Jnr for his outstanding work to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”. In this article, we will be exploring the life and legacy of Albert Al-Gore, a renowned climate change activist and how this impact on peacebuilding.
Who then is Albert Al-Gore Jnr.?
Albert Arnold Gore Jr. is an American politician and environmentalist. Born on 31st March 1948 in Washington D.C to Albert Gore Snr, a long-time US Senator and Pauline Gore, he attended the prestigious St Albans School from 1956 to 1965 where he actively partook in sports including football, discus and basketball. He then went on to study law at Harvard. Gore was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War but enlisted in the U.S. army in August 1969 and served as a military journalist. With just 7 months left in his enlistment, Gore was assigned to Vietnam in January 1971 where he served with the 20th Army Brigade in Bien Hoa. Albert Gore married Mary Elizabeth Tipper and has 4 children.
Albert is an American politician who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. He subsequently emerged as the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the 2000 elections but lost to George W Bush. Nevertheless, outside of politics, Albert is best known as an environmental activist and author whose work in 2007 earned him the Nobel Peace Prize of 2007. He has always advocated for climate change dating back to the early 1990s when he published the book, Earth in the Balance: Forging A New Common Purpose where he emphasized the problem of global warming. After the loss of the 2000 elections, he channeled his energies towards global awareness on climate change resulting in the award-winning documentary — An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.
As young and experienced peacebuilders, Gore’s life and works produce several lessons for us including:
1. Never keep silent in the midst of societal challenges– Gore was very instrumental in raising global awareness on climate change. He consistently campaigned for a sustainable environment and the mitigation and adaptation of climate change. He became aware of global warming at the age of 20 when one of his professors at Harvard who was monitoring carbon dioxide from the top of a volcano in Hawaii showed him the acceleration of the greenhouse effect. When Albert Al-Gore became a congressman, he invited his old professor to testify on Capitol Hill with other scientists. Growing up as a young American, As a reporter at Tennessean, Gore deployed his flair for journalism to investigate and uncovered political and bribery cases which resulted in convictions. As peacebuilders, we must be concerned about how our environment, the occurring challenges and find ways of solving the issues.
2. Leverage on science and technology to promote public policies– In this age where world leaders, politicians and policy makers continue to dispute the reality of climate change, we have to place the focus on the science that proves that our planet is in danger. Gore used his influence as a former Vice President of the United States to advocate the cause of climate change awareness. He had introduced the concept of the information superhighway into the public debate many years earlier and, even as a Senator, had been the prime force behind the High-Performance Computing Act. Vice-President Gore led in the development of the National Information Infrastructure as well as the Global Information Infrastructure, and other initiatives to enhance electronic communication. He continued his commitment to environmental issues, particularly in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, national wetlands policy, and development of fuel-efficient vehicles.
3. Learn to Compromise- At the peak of his political career, Gore lost the 2000 presidential elections to George W. Bush in a very controversial manner despite winning popular vote. After some weeks of legal argument and contentions, he conceded defeat to the Republican candidate. In his concession speech, Gore noted that while he was disappointed and disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside “and tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” Seven years later, Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to environmental issues.
Today, Albert Gore is one of the leading voices on Climate Change in the world and remains a mentor for all young peacebuilders. I would love to meet with him one day to discuss how to better advocate for climate change action.
Media Team Member,
Building Blocks for Peace Foundation.