Tessa Mullins, a first-year Comedic Arts major, asked a very serious question about climate change on Thursday night and got a hopeful answer from former Vice President Al Gore.
More than 10,000 people across North America—and a packed Bright Family Screening Room—watched Gore answer selected questions online prior to a screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the follow-up to Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Mullins represented Emerson College with her question.
“In light of the recent influx of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes,” Mullins asked, “how can we consider and communicate the connection between these events and climate change without making people feel helpless and hopeless, but instead inspiring change and hope?”
While most earthquakes are not caused by climate change, Gore responded, Mullins’ question is still “right on point.”
“That’s why I always couple discussions of the consequences of the climate crisis with an immediate discussion of the solutions to the climate crisis,” he said. “It’s dangerous. It is really threatening, but we have what we need to solve this. We’ve just got to match these solutions with political will and implement these solutions.”
The Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies hosted the former vice president, senator, and 2000 Democratic nominee for president. The Emerson screening of the Q&A and film was hosted by the Bright Lights Film Series.
An Inconvenient Sequel follows Gore as he navigates the Paris Climate Summit and looks at his path to becoming one of the nation’s most well-known environmentalists.
While the film focuses on Gore’s personal struggle to prove to the world that climate change is real, it also gives insight into how the world’s leaders are working together to lower Earth’s carbon emissions and slow the process of global warming.
Following the film, a panel including Helena Feder, an associate professor at East Carolina University; Climate Reality leader Joshua May, CEO of ReVenture, a sustainability consulting company; Visual and Media Arts faculty member Bob Nesson; and Amy Elvidge, Emerson sustainability coordinator, dissected the film’s main themes of human ingenuity and the perils of climate change.