Former Vice President Al Gore needs scientists; he needs them to get involved in politics. When he addressed a crowd at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference last week, he asked that the scientists in the audience advocate sound political actions that can alleviate the dire consequences of climate change.
“The solution to this crisis depends on the spread of science into the world of politics,” he said. “Scientists can no longer in good conscience accept this division between the work you do and the civilization in which you live. I’m asking for your help.”
Gore made the request after showing an updated version of his slide show given in his Oscar-winning movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Ever improving his message, Gore even had slides of the recent fires in Australia, which scorched the continent just days before the talk. He even had the photo of a fireman giving the usually reclusive koala bear a sip of water.
Powerful energy companies are trying to convince the public that coal, which is the dirtiest and most abundant fossil fuel in the U.S., can be clean, he said, which is making it difficult to convince the public that global warming is indeed a crisis. He then cited Upton Sinclair, who said that “it’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it.” But scientists can help people understand and work towards solutions to the problem.
Now that the tide has turned, now that we have new leadership and advisers who know the science, we have to make a decision as a species, he said. “If I could find a way, I would convey my sense of urgency straight from my heart to yours. Leave this city and start getting involved in politics. Keep your day job, but start getting involved in this debate."