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  • 04.09.09

Now I Know How Al Gore Feels

I’ve been an environmental advocate for the same couple of decades, always suspecting that my friends raised an eyebrow or two over my predictions and admonitions about sustainability (my family, however, was not subtle about raising their eyebrows). I worked for the day when thinking “green” would be a normal part of everyday life. Well, just as Al Gore’s day(s) arrived in 2007, my days arrived this week.

In 1984, Al Gore held a hearing in Congress about global
warming and urged his colleagues to do something about it. As we now know, he
was ridiculed and largely ignored for the best part of two decades before being
vindicated with a Nobel Prize and an Oscar (oh yeah, and another Congressional
hearing, at which he was taken far more seriously).

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I’ve been an environmental advocate for the same couple of
decades, always suspecting that my friends raised an eyebrow or two over my predictions
and admonitions about sustainability (my family, however, was not subtle about
raising their eyebrows). I worked for the day when thinking “green” would be a
normal part of everyday life. Well, just as Al Gore’s day(s) arrived in 2007,
my days arrived this week.

 

First, I turned on a Los Angeles Laker game and found the
entire team wearing “NBA Green Week” tee shirts. The NBA.com website lists
dozens of things anyone can do to live more sustainably (and save money in the
process!). When a major sports league feels that all they need to say is
“green” and that it’s a good color for their brand, our time has come.

 

The second big “arrival” moment
came this week when the Honda Clarity – – an all-electric car powered by
hydrogen and a fuel cell – – was named the “2009 World Green Car” at the New
York International Auto Show. “The FCX Clarity is an utterly real,
hydrogen-fuelled luxury sedan that provides the amenities
people expect in a premium car with 430 km
range, fuel consumption of about 3.3 litres/100 km (72 mpg US)
 equivalent and
zero tailpipe emissions,” the judges wrote. I drive one in Los Angeles and have
long believed in the future of this technology – – but the future has arrived
today.

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Maybe the message in this is simply that we can invent our future
when we have the vision to imagine it. We need not fear those who give warnings
of dire consequences, just hear their messages as opportunities to evolve,
invent, and invest in something new. That will mean a lot of “green” days
ahead.

About the author

From his youth in Australia to career experiences in Europe, Africa, China and across the United States, Terry has developed expertise in business, farming, education, non-profit, the environment, the arts, and government. A United States Coast Guard-licensed ship captain, Terry has long been drawn to the undersea world, starting in the 1960s with a family-run tropical fish breeding business in Australia and continuing with studies on conch depletion in the Bahamas, manatee populations in Florida coastal waters, and mariculture in the Gulf States with Texas A&M University.

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