Sarah Tew Photography

I met Al Gore!
December 9, 2009, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Events, Personal

Last night my friend Oliver was in town on business and invited me to join him in a rare opportunity: we met Al Gore! A hedge fund called Generation which Al is on the board for (?) was having a small party at One Bryant Park– the Bank of America Tower (a brand new skyscraper and incredibly green building with unbeleivable views of the city– see below) and Al was the guest of honor.

We got free signed copies of Our Choice and heard Al Gore speak to this room of no doubt very rich men about the issue he’s most passionate about: climate change. What was particularly neat was that we were hearing him speak here in NYC while in Copenhagen the worlds leaders are gathering to make… or NOT make progress together in addressing our challenges in this area. He didn’t seem hopeful that this conference would yield the results we need… but stated his faith that we can still prevent environmental catastrophe. I sure hope so.

By the way, there were so few women in this room it was a little eerie.  And yes, I was pretty much the only person who took pictures.  No flash of course… It was a highly sophisticated affair.

We did get our opportunity to shake his hand and talk for a few minutes…

After getting Oliver’s picture with him and listening to them converse about sustainable investments for a bit I asked him politely if he’s considered taking a bolder stance on the food system and calling for a boycott of the industrial farming system, which as he is well aware is a far greater source of environmental  damage:  methane from manure on feedlots (20x worse than Co2)- which is NOT put through a sewer/filtration system but runs off into surrounding environs/water… and let’s not even get into the detrimental effects of the use of antibiotics in meat-production.  Anyway he said that he had done so (taken a stand) in this book and flipped to a few pages to show me. I had just seen him eat several bites of meat and I know this man is not a vegetarian..I mean, this is the meat platter at the party…

I asked him about this issue and he assured me that if I read the new book and still didn’t think he’d addressed it then I should let him know (easier said than done, Al!).  I told him I was thrilled to hear that and that I looked forward to reading the book. Frankly I am not sure that a chapter in a book which will most likely only be read by the people who are already on board is making much use of his role as a national figure of leadership in the fight to save the planet from environmental catastrophe– which is the role he wants, no? I guess what I really he he would do is to go on TV and call on Americans to stop eating industrially produced meat and start supporting their local and organic farms… Or he could make a sequel documentary- with the same kind of vigor that he addressed carbon emissions from cars and electricity use in the home.  It’s clear that the plethora of books written by random vegetarians (try Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book) are not going to reach the larger public. Even that movie Food, Inc., –which was a pretty good attempt at reaching a wider audience– let’s face it, was probably not seen by anyone who wasn’t already very  interested in the issues.  We need more mainstream media coverage of the facts, which are outrageous.  Al Gore has the credibility and position to get the job done– and if most people actually understood how harmful to the environment and wasteful of resources the industrial meat farms are… one must hope they’d be willing to embrace a boycott. Which is essentially what being vegetarian is for those of us who reject animal products out of environmental concern… a refusal to participate in supporting an industry one believes ought to change its practices in order to earn your business.

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You are rockin’ this year Sarah! I’m so glad that you are finding such great opportunities like this. Congrats!

Comment by Mindy Best

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