June 22nd, 2011
I said it last fall and I’ll say it again. The science and environmental communities suffer desperately from a lack of leadership skills. Plain and simple, eggheads and Nerd Loopers make lousy leaders. There is one voice that did manage to establish himself on the subject of climate change — Al Gore. He’s not the perfect voice, but he is a loud, clear voice. Bring him back and make him better. It’s that simple.
The climate community has a clear and powerful voice in Al Gore. When he speaks to Obama he is heard (as he is doing this month in Rolling Stone). Why in the world wouldn’t the entire climate crowd use him to their maximum ability?
BRING HIM BACK
I, as much as anyone, detest the boring movie that Davis Guggenheim made about global warming in 2006. A very well-intentioned politician put his faith in a dull filmmaker and ended up with a film that nobody wants to watch five years later. I’ve constructively criticized it at length (it was an urgent statement on what continues to be perceived as a non-urgent issue — which is a bad mix). It failed to tell a compelling story (and I mean what I’m saying here — it was not an exercise in storytelling as it should have been, as I’ve explained in detail in the past). A whole bunch of other things were bungled, and the net result was less than hoped for. But at least they accomplished something — they put the issue and his voice on the map.
But the brainless, gutless thing the environmental movement did was to decide that Gore was a total failure not worth backing any further. Rather than look at what worked, what didn’t work, and what needed improvement, the powers that be simply kicked him to the curb (I know this from inside sources), then went on with their own polling-driven, directionless mess that culminated this spring with Matt Nisbet’s widely criticized report that correctly stated (if nothing else) that a gargantuan amount of money (at least a third of a billion dollars, perhaps three times that) was wasted on the massively failed “cap and trade” effort.
The ineptitude of the climate movement is of historic proportions. And now it ends up being a movement that is devoid of clear POPULAR leadership. Yes, there are some good people working hard, but they simply do not have widely recognized voices. Al Gore does.
The guy is a stiff (still), he doesn’t have broad appeal (my friends and relatives in Kansas cannot stand him), but he remains true to his mission. He’s the best hope for the issue of climate change.
MY RECOMMENDATION AS A TRAINED COMMUNICATOR …
Find yourself a filmmaker who actually knows how to tell a story. Make a new movie with Al Gore. Spend at least a year developing a script that will tell a compelling story, filled with the humor and emotion of OTHER PEOPLE (again, Al’s a stiff, don’t try to fix this, it’s not fixable). There are so many funny and impassioned people in this country — make use of them — the people in the trenches with the genuine stories to tell. The power of storytelling is overwhelming and eternal. You made a bad movie that didn’t tell a story. Give it another shot, and this time make a good movie. Storytelling is hypnotic in it’s power, and the public is as ready for it now as they ever were.
Bring back Gore.