Turns out Al Gore is not in Poznan for the climate change talks. In fact, today he was in Chicago, meeting with President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. Their topic? Global warming. That’s a meeting I’d love to have been in. I imagine Gore conveying his points with passion and rigor – and Obama and Biden responding in kind. I recently had experience of another Al, or more precisely, an Al surrogate. And passion and rigor are not adjectives I’d use, alas. A while back I sent a print out (double-sided) of Brighter Green’s recent paper on China and factory farming (Skillful Means: the Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming) to the former Vice President’s office in Nashville. It deals directly with the global warming impacts of ever-more intensive and extensive meat and dairy operations. Mr. Gore hasn’t addressed this piece of the climate change puzzle much at all, so I thought a little education/conscientization was worth a try.
I didn’t expect Mr. Gore himself to read it, but that it would, in the way of many past policy papers, make its way to someone on his staff who would be interested in the topic and recognize its relevance. Whether that happened or not, I’ll never know…but the letter I got back from the former VP’s office was not terribly enlightening. In fact, it was pretty banal, even as form letters go. Not even a mention of climate change in the text, let alone Skillful Means. “We’re always pleased to hear that others are taking the time to better inform themselves about the environmental challenges we are facing,” the letter read. “Certainly, each one of us will benefit from a cleaner, more protected earth.” The cheery, declarative last sentence said: Best of luck!” and it was signed by an un-titled aide, not Al himself. Thanks!
To be sure I didn’t expect a personal reply, but I thought there might be some more passion in there, or some of the community organizing so recently and effectively on display in the presidential campaign. You know, something like, you’re part of a global movement…please visit this Website for more information…stay engaged…share information and ideas here…climate change is the major challenge of our times…or at leastsomething with some substance or energy. The most engaging part of the letter, perhaps, was this: “printed on recycled paper” in blue type at the bottom. No hard feelings, Al. Now, back to Poznan. The issue of gender and global warming isn’t (yet) on the official agenda, but click here to read more about what gender-climate interactions are, and what some campaigners were saying and doing about it in Poznan this wee.