This morning I was lucky enough to listen to the first Keynote at SXSW Interactive – Al Gore on Climate Change.
He focused largely on the importance of ‘the now’ and how it’s up to our generation to get directly involved in changing the attitudes of politicians across the world by embracing social media: ““We are at a fork in the road … but we can do this, we can win this”.
One of the revealing slides he showed, was of the the top 10 cities in the world which are facing threats from rising sea levels – number 1 being Miami – the irony being that Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott has recently been rumoured to have banned the term ‘climate change’ in any official documents or speeches.
Gore focused also on the huge increase over the past few years in renewable energy – over 6.5 million people now work in the renewable energy sector, with South America having a 370% increase in solar energy (PV systems) in 2014 and on May11th 2014 – 74% of power in Germany was generated by solar energy plus ‘pay as you go’ solar panels in Sierra Leone – as Gore said: “…the age of renewables is beginning”.
There’s still a long way to go, said Gore – the Mayor of Beijing recently stated that “At the present Beijing is not a liveable city” with the life expectancy in North China having been reduced by 5.5 years due to air pollution.
Gore ended his talk, calling for a ‘price on political denial’ and encouraging us all to look to the future – to ensure future generations aren’t stuck with the damage we’ve already caused asking ‘what were they thinking?’ but will look back and recognised we were able to ‘find the moral courage to change’. As Gore pointedly said: “political change is a renewable resource” and the “part of the answer may well be that a group of people came to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in 2015 and helped to make a revolution!” Perhaps a tad cheesy, but he covered some great points and certainly got the crowd stirred up and ready for what looks to be a very exciting SXSW Interactive.