The Environmental Work of Al Gore

Facharbeit (Schule), 2012

14 Seiten, Note: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. Al Gore's Childhood and Education
2.1 Early Years and School
2.2 Harvard and Military Service

3. Al Gore Starting a Political Career and Environmental Activism
3.1 The House of Representatives and Senatorial Dignity
3.2 First Run for Presidency
3.3 Earth in Balance

4. Gore as Vice President
4.1 The Rio Summit
4.2 Green Gore in the White House
4.3 Second Legislative Period as Vice President
4.3.1 Gentle Environmentalism
4.3.2 The Kyoto Summit

5. Al Gore's Life after Vice Presidency
5.1 Second Presidential Run
5.2 Environmental Projects
5.2.1 Generation Investment Management
5.3 An Inconvenient Truth
5.4 Live Earth

6. Conclusion

7. Bibliography
7.1 Books
7.2 Weblinks

1. Introduction

The United States of America have always had a tremendous influence on other countries and were often a few steps ahead in many important scientific developments. However, it took a long time for Americans to realize the issue of climate change but now America has finally started “going green”. But what does “going green” mean? First of all it is about reducing the consumption of energy all over the world in order to lower CO2-emissions. Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that cause more energy of the sunlight to stay in the Earth's atmosphere than normal. Due to this process we have higher temperatures and more extreme weather situations. Possible solutions for the climate crisis can be fuel efficient- or electric cars and renewable energies like solar- or wind energy. Although many steps have already been taken, the world still has a long way to go if climate change is supposed to be decelerated. With a quarter of all CO2-emissions worldwide the USA have an important function in the fight against global warming, which can be in danger without their help.

The man who made many Americans change their mind about environmental protection and a “green” lifestyle is Al Gore. But how did one man change almost a whole nation's thinking about an uncomfortable topic they had ignored so far? Even as Senator of Tennessee and Vice President of the USA, Gore had to fight hard for his environmental goals. His commitment to trying to change the world and his love for nature are impressive. These traits enable him to give passionate speeches having the power to make people want to save our environment. Unlike many other politicians, he continued his attempts to change the world after his time in office and was far more successful. Considering the great impression Gore made on people all over the world, the following question comes up: “ What did Al Gore do – and still does - to save our environment?” To answer this question one has to have a closer look at the man himself investigating his personal background and political career.

2. Al Gore's Childhood and Education

2.1 Early Years and School

Albert Arnold “Al“ Gore Junior was born on 31st March 1948 in Washington D.C. Because of his father's political career, he spent his childhood partly in Washington D.C. and in Carthage, Tennessee, where his father was Senator. It is said that Al Gore's political career began the day after his birth. He was on the first page of the local newspaper “Tennessean”. His father had asked the publisher to put him there in order to enhance his own popularity. From then on most of the decisions in Gore´s life were made on behalf of his political career. Although he moved to Washington D.C. when he started secondary school, he still had to work at the family farm so he would be a credible “boy from the South”. Gore probably made his first “green” experiences working there.[1] Later he went to St. Albans, an expensive and exclusive preperatory school, where most of the powerful families sent their children. His schoolmates had famous names like Bush, Kennedy or Roosevelt[2] and were sent there for the same reason as Gore: learning how to be a politician.[3]

2.2 Harvard and Military Service

After graduating from St. Albans he applied to Harvard in 1965 and was immediately admitted because of his father´s connections despite the fact that his grades were only average. The subject he chose was political sciences.[4] Although he was strictly opposed to the Vietnam War, Gore joined the United States Army soon after receiving his university degree in 1969. But Gore was not found at the front. He used his time in Vietnam to work as a journalist and never participated in any battles.[5] When Gore had returned from Vietnam in 1971, he had his first crisis working up the new experiences. He decided to go to college again and this time he chose theology as a subject. “These studies helped me asking the right questions.”, as he stated in hindsight. It is also important to highlight that: “more importantly they gave him an understanding of environmental politics.”[6]

3. Al Gore Starting a Political Career and Environmental Activism

3.1 The House of Representatives and Senatorial Dignity

In 1976 Al Gore decided to run for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, the lower legislative house of the United States Congress and succeeded. In the first two years he was able to win a few smaller arguments, which meant good publicity and solidified his position in Congress[7]. At that time he was not representing his thoughts referring to environmentalism yet, because hardly anyone cared for this or similar topics. The first time he had to deal with pollution of the environment was in 1978, when a company disposed poisonous industrial waste near a residential district. But although he brought draft proposals to Congress, which should forbid such disposal sites, his behaviour in Congress was not very straight. Gore could not allow himself to provoke the industry, so he slightly went back on his proposals. When he was Senator of Tennessee from 1985 to 1993, Gore interrupted his environmental work.[8]

3.2 First Run for Presidency

As soon as Al Gore had decided to run for 1988´s presidency his “green” goals were excluded from his election programme. This was, as he admitted later, the biggest mistake of modern Democrats: Selling out sustainability for short range political targets. Gore's untrustworthy behaviour caused many environmentalist voters to be very disappointed in him. That disappointment surely affected the voters' decisions and perhaps he would not have lost the Democrats' primary if he had stayed true to his political principles.[9]


[1] cf. Stefan Kornelius, Al Gore - Mission Klima, Freiburg im Breisgau, Herder, 2000, p.17.

[2] Families of three former US-Presidents.

[3] cf. Ibid., pp. 21-22.

[4] cf. Ibid., p. 24.

[5] cf. Peter Neumann, Al Gore – Eine Biographie, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt ddGmbH, 2000, p. 44, p. 47.

[6] Quoted as in Peter Neumann, Al Gore – Eine Biographie, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-An alstalt GmbH, 2000, p.52.

[7] cf. Peter Neumann, Al Gore – Eine Biographie, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, dd2000, pp. 58-59.

[8] cf. Peter Neumann, Al Gore – Eine Biographie, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, al2000, pp.70-71.

[9] cf. Peter Neumann, Al Gore – Eine Biographie, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, dd2000, pp. 84-87.

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The Environmental Work of Al Gore
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Luis Oerter (Autor:in), 2012, The Environmental Work of Al Gore, München, GRIN Verlag,


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