Wednesday, February 28, 2007


At the Oscar ceremonies the other night Melissa Etheridge sang I Need to Wake Up from an Inconvenient Truth, performing in front of a giant screen flashing sacrificial exhortations:
Are you ready to change the way you live?

The climate crisis can be solved.

In fact, you can reduce your carbon emissions to zero.

Change your thermostat (and use clock thermostats) to reduce energy for heating and cooling.

Weatherize your house, increase insulation, get an energy audit.

When you can, walk or ride a bicycle.

Where you can, use light rail + mass transit.

If you are a parent, join with your children to save the world they live in.

Vote for leaders who pledge to solve this crisis.

Write to Congress.

Pray that people will find the strength to change.
The on-screen messages were the highlight of the performance. Etheridge can't sing -- her deep voice and angry delivery makes it sound like she's having regular testosterone injections. And the music was, well, plodding unmelodic drudge. No matter, I Need to Wake Up won the best original song Oscar.

The on-screen messages are more important than the crappy song because they convey Al Gore's "we're all going to have to make sacrifices if the gobal warming problem is going to be solved" message. The thing is, Gore doesn't seem to be following his own environmental health prescriptions. As everyone is probably aware, the Gore's have an extravagantly huge residential energy bill, using over 18,000 kWh of electricity a month on average (plus $1,080 of gas a month). This compares rather unfavourably with my two person household's recent average electricity consumption of just under 704 kWh per month (and I'm all electric).

Anyway, the resulting controversy has set the progressive spin machine in motion, with spokeswoman Kalee Kreider saying Gore's energy consumption must be viewed in context:
Asked to explain how the Gores use the amount of electricity they do, Kreider said they have a large family and often host guests. Both Al and Tipper Gore also have home offices. And she noted that much of Al Gore's time is spent trying to bring about awareness to the problem of global warming, which as a byproduct uses carbon-emitting power.
A large family? There are four Gore kiddies but all are adults, presumably living away from home. The home offices are a good excuse, however: I mean, how could anyone criticize the guy for emitting carbon while fighting the good fight against global warming. And hey, it is a big house; maybe he's constructed an energy gobbling experimental fusion reactor in the basement, hoping to invent an all new and cheap source of power. He did invent the internet, after all.

The impact on the youth of the world of Gore's do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do example setting is something of a worry:
"An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's movie on global warming, is now the fourth-largest-grossing documentary of all time. But apparently it isn't young adults who are paying the price of the ticket -- or, more important, taking the truth about the environment to heart. In fact, the inconvenient truth today is that youths' willingness to conserve gas, heat and energy has taken a precipitous plunge since the 1980s.

According to data from Monitoring the Future, a federally funded national survey on trends in the attitudes, values and behavior of high school seniors since 1976, there has been a clear decline in conservation behavior among 18-year-olds over the past 27 years -- although we are not yet sure whether these attitudes follow youths into adulthood. This decline, interestingly, is coupled with a rise in materialistic values.
No sensible person is going to buy the "Gore is carbon neutral" nonsense; there's no excuse for using the amount of power used by the Gores. Reducing consumption is the core of Al's message; unfortunately he doesn't follow his own advice.

Time for that energy audit, Al. And why not be transparent and make the results public?

Update: Maybe Gore uses his home office to manage the companies he founded. One of which, Generation Investment Management, specializes in socially and environmentally responsible investments. With a business like this it's no wonder he's become an envirovangelist; the more people he can get to buy his message, the better Generation Investment Management will do. Hey, he has to get the power bill carbon offset money from somewhere.


Post a Comment

<< Home