It's been five years since former vice president Al Gore managed to delight the world with what was essentially a feature-length slideshow. In that time, despite the best pedagogical efforts of Gore and his legions of personally trained presenters, the climate has not improved. In fact, fewer people believe in man-made climate change than they did in 2006. To combat that, Gore is launching the Climate Reality Project tonight.
The CRP is a 24-hour education-thon of presentations (some, yes, involving slideshows) about how climate change and the deadly weather patterns we've seen in the last year are linked, and combating the views of people who deny this links. "We're standing up to the deniers," says Maggie Fox, the CEO of the CRP. "We're standing up to the paid denial, doubt, and critique. We're gathering people together under the banner of reality."
Each hour, for 24 hours, a different speaker will give the 30-minute presentation in their native language (English subtitles will be provided). It won't just be watching the same piece over and over again, however. Each presentation will feature specific information about the location in which that presentation is taking place. In between each presentation, the show will cut back to half an hour in a New York studio with guests and a host: "It will be scientists," says Fox. "Someone who is talking about coral reefs when we're in Australia and the Solomon Islands. When we're up in Alaska, it will be people talking about sea level rise..."
Starting at 7 p.m. in America's Central Time, the presentations will move westward over the Pacific, through Asia, culminating in a final presentation by Gore himself in New York at 7 p.m. the following day. (If he looks tired, it's because he plans to stay up and watch each presentation before him). You can stream the event here.
Inconvenient Truth was oft-criticized for failing to be prescriptive. After being convinced that humanity was altering the planet, there was no solution offered except for the anodyne "change your lightbulbs." The CRP has made some strides in this direction: Each presentation will feature organizations that can help locally and the CRP is going to release additional (slightly more serious) videos.
But Fox says it's about increasing awareness rather than offering specific solutions, with the hope of getting a critical mass of people together to make change. "One of the things that's missing now is a global voice, that are connected to each other. We're not a force. We aren't all finding each other. We're not only standing up to deniers, we're bringing people together."