Gore Finally Gets It

To keep Green Piece Blog relevant, I read stories and information on the environment all over the internet constantly. Anybody who has followed discussions of global warming on the web like I have has probably discovered that a lot of global warming skeptics aim their targets right at former Vice-President Al Gore. It is as if Gore himself created the concept of global warming and unless he lives a completely carbon-free life, he cannot be trusted on this issue.

Frankly, I think anybody can agree that it is impressive that Gore has been so committed to publicizing something he believes is a real threat. Too bad none of the politicians currently holding office are as steadfast in their defense of the environment.

However, Al Gore has given many of his critics a major opening for attacks on him. It has often been said that Gore's lifestyle doesn't necessarily reflect his passion for reducing carbon emissions. Anyone who watched "An Inconvenient Truth" probably noticed that Gore never traveled around in hybrid vehicles and flew very often. Gore's mansion in Tennessee has been a noted electricity hog with utility bills reaching over $1,200.

Gore's response to attacks on his lifestyle has always been that deniers were more interested in going after the messenger rather than the message. This argument is valid, but out of touch with reality. Many look to Gore to set an example for how individual responsibility can be the most effective way to curb global warming. It may be the strategy of deniers to point the finger at the messenger, but Gore should use this as an opportunity to educate people about things he has done to reduce his impact.

Finally, Gore gets it. Solar panels, rain collection devices, geothermal heaters and florescent light bulbs have all been added to Gore's beautiful Nashville home. In the face of a record heat wave last summer, the home actually cut utility costs by 11% when other Nashville homes were earning 20-30% higher-than-usual utility bills. This is especially impressive because Gore's home is more than 80 years old. The Green Building Coalition awards prizes to buildings that integrate energy efficient technologies. The top prize is Platinum, Gore's home won Gold. It is the only home in Tennessee to win that distinction.

Honestly, I don't think Al Gore needs a mansion in the first place. One of the best ways to lower your impact on the earth is to live in an urban center, not the 'burbs, and to live in a home that truly meets your needs. I am glad, however, that if he insists on living in such a large home, he is taking steps to make it as green as possible so he can set an example for others. As an aside, Gore also invests a great deal of money in the development of renewable energy sources.

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