Al Gore’s Heartbreaking Story Why He Feels So Strongly About the Climate Crisis
We had been to a baseball game. It was a wonderful day. My child was holding my hand, and suddenly one of his friends took out running across the street. I didn’t realize it because I was busy doing something else. I looked back not fully aware of the moment. Then the hand… slipped… free… from mine. And then the tragedy unfolded…
This is Al Gores closing remarks at the 38th Climate Reality training held in Berlin 26–28 June 2018. Since he founded the Climate Reality organisation 2006 he has personally trained over 15 000 Climate Reality leaders from more than 140 countries to fight the climate crisis.
The most painful experience that I have ever been through. We had been to a baseball game. It was a wonderful day and my child was holding my hand. One of his friends took out running across the street. I didn’t realize it because I was busy doing something else. I looked back not fully aware of the moment then the hand… slipped… free… from mine. And then the tragedy unfolded ––The story has a happy ending —there was a full recovery despite everything. But it was a lingering experience of worries and dark and fearful thoughts. “One of my children were dying.” I was praying over what appeared to be a lifeless body. Suddenly two nurses showed up with their bags. They had been to the same baseball game and they took their bags with them just in case there might be an accident. And there was. The ambulance came immediately.
I spent the next 30 days and nights in the hospital’s intensive care unit not knowing much of that time what the outcome would be. And during those days and nights I remember so vividly going over my schedule and I looked at all these events that were scheduled for the next days, the next week, the week after that and the month after that. I remembered how many of those events that felt extremely important when I wrote them in my schedule, how much preparation I would be asked to do. How serious these matters were. They just blew off the pages as if they were lighter than a feather — they no longer mattered at all. I remember thinking about the agenda of action that I had mapped out for myself, issues that I was engaged in. There were so many of them. The only one that did not blow off that list was the climate crisis, because in some way it was connected in my heart to the main challenge of my life — aid my children in living a good life.
And when I went back, finally, the healing continued outside the hospital, and full recovery was achieved long after that. When I went back dealing with the climate crisis it felt different to me, and I could not put into words what it was that felt so different.
Some 15 years passed after the incident, and during the making of the first movie “Inconvenient Truth”, the director David Guggenheim, during a very long day, interviewed me without a camera and persistently asked me deeply personal questions. The conversation was so intense it was almost like a psychiatrist conversation. In other ways he was like a child that replied to every question with a “Yes, but why?”. During our conversation the day turned into night, and nobody moved or turned on the light because it was so intense. It was during that conversation I finally found a way to put into words what it was that felt different to me about the climate crisis after the traumatizing incident.
And here is what I learned.
We as human beings naturally protect ourselves against imagining or thinking deeply about the most terrible thing that could happen, or the most unimaginable loss. If we did not protect ourselves against such thoughts life would be drained of a good deal of its joy. So it’s a natural phenomena. But I was confronted face to face brutally with the prospect of losing someone especially precious to me and it left a raw place in my heart. I learned so much from those who came up to me from all walks of life; sharing elevators with strangers, servers in restaurants, people I did not know who had read about this and told me of experiences they had had and reached out to me.
I figured out that one of the secrets about human condition of people that have suffered is that it binds people together, and people that have suffered instinctively reach out to those they feel are going through difficult experiences. That really changed my life.
But something else was also made clear to me. When I went back to really thinking deeply about the climate crisis it touched that one place in my heart and gave me a feeling that I was not capable of having before the pain that I had previously experienced. It caused me to actually feel this beautiful nature that we live in for the first time. This beautiful planet that’s ideal for living. The conditions that lead to the flourishing of humanity. We could lose these conditions. We could lose what is most precious to us.
I actually think that one of the many reasons that climate deniers exist is that humans instinctively push away such thoughts.
We have not lost yet. We could lose it! However, climate change is still present. Damage has been done to which we must adapt. But the great loss that would be the biggest tragedy in the history of humanity and many other species as well is still preventable.
So go along with this article that you have read. Go along with all the new relationships that you have established here. Go along with thoughts of why you were here in the first place. And always keep in your heart: what is truly the most precious resource we have?
I want you to… I wanna share with you… this feeling that this precious earth of ours is…. beginning to slip…….. from our grasp. *Al Gore almost whispering to the audience of 700 people in the room — You could hear a pin drop across the room* It has yet to slip away fully. Now is the time to make sure it does not. To conclude, I am asking you to hold on. We are going to win. With your help we will win. God bless you and thank you!
THANK YOU Mr Al Gore. On behalf of all 15 000 climate reality leaders you have trained tirelessly throughout the years. I wish to thank you for being you. Thanks for everything. We will continue the struggle and speak truth to power! Always. We will win!
On august 28–30 it’s time for the biggest training ever. More than 2,500 new leaders will be trained in Los Angeles. Do you want to take the lead and fight for our world and follow your heart? Apply now! But don’t wait. We Don’t Have Time!
Proud Climate Reality leader and founder of WeDontHaveTime.org