The former Vice President, Nobel Laureate, and eco-warrior’s mission to make the world a better place for future generations
One of the last things Al Gore’s father said to him was, “Always do the right thing.” That desire to do the right thing was a driving force throughout Al Gore’s political career — as a congressman, senator, and Vice President of the United States, and with his unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2000.
Since the early 1970s, Gore has worked tirelessly to do the right thing with regard to the environment. His bestselling books (Earth in Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, and Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis), award-winning documentary (An Inconvenient Truth), and nonprofit organization, The Climate Reality Project, have helped put climate change in the world’s spotlight. For his work on global warming, Gore along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a Nobel Prize in 2007. Gore donated his share of the $1.6 award to Climate Reality.
Now, Gore has broadened his scope with a new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. In this cautionary but optimistic tale, Gore examines how emerging forces are reshaping the world, and he outlines strategies for harnessing or countering these forces for the good of future generations.
“The next generation has every right to expect that those of us who are older will fight for them.”
In a recent interview with NPR’s Diane Rehm, Gore discussed these drivers of change, some aspects of which are “creepy.” He cites as an example programs that upload to your computer without your knowledge when you visit a website, then track and collect your movements on the internet and sell that data to commercial entities.
Not surprisingly, Gore sounded the alarm on climate change. “We’re dumping 90 million tons of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere every day, the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every 24 hours.”
Gore also gave Rehm a rare glimpse into his personal life: “Tipper and I made a mutual decision, after 40 years of marriage, to separate. We’re on wonderful terms. She’s happy. I’m happy. Life is good.”
The Gores, who split up in 2010, have four grown children and three grandchildren, Wyatt (13), Anna (11), and Oscar (6). “It’s obvious that becoming a grandfather is a real joy for him,” Karenna Gore Schiff said shortly after Wyatt’s birth.
“It’s hard to find words for the thrilling feeling of [being] a grandparent for the first time.”
Although living apart and romantically involved with other people, Al and Tipper remain close friends and get together regularly as a family. “We had all the children and grandchildren with us at the farm in Tennessee for Christmas, and we will have them again this summer at the lake, as we did last year.”
Family, after all, is the “center my life,” as Gore has said, and the “bedrock” of America, as Al and Tipper co-wrote in Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family. The book identifies the top 10 changes in the American family — including (#9) grandparents playing an active role in raising grandchildren. It also features real-life stories of today’s “nontraditional” families, and calls for society to do the right thing by accepting and supporting families of all types.
“Together, let us build a country that honors and upholds intergenerational life.”
Although written in 2002, when Al and Tipper Gore were the poster couple of a happy “traditional” family, Joined at the Heart seems even more relevant today, when the Gores are a happy nontraditional family navigating this fast-changing world — like so many others of us. As the couple wrote in the book:
“We are all in this together. We are all feeling our way toward a future in an uncharted world. But new problems require new solutions. And the American family — in all its forms — is rising to that challenge in ways that no one could have predicted. We believe the real values that all American families aspire to are very simple: love, respect, honor, caring, nurturing, and doing everything in one’s power to give our children a better world.”
Click on this link to listen to Al Gore’s interview withNPR’s Diane Rehm.
Click on this link to watch a video of Al Gore discussing The Future.
Click on this link to watch Al Gore’s plea to Congress: “Our grandchildren are counting on us.”