Tell them about the dream, Al!
The most quoted part of our essay, "The Death of Environmentalism," was that Martin Luther King didn't give the "I have a nightmare" speech for a reason. The "I have a dream" speech worked because people knew about the nightmare. What America needed was a positive vision of the future. It's time for Al Gore to tell the world about the dream.
Last week, Al Gore justly won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work demanding that we take a good hard look at the nightmare of global warming. It is, in his words, "a planetary emergency."
The problem is that knowing about the nightmare isn't enough. Fear is as apt to paralyze as motivate. Fear is like sugar for a four year-old: it produces a burst of energy that ends as quickly as it begins. Hope, by contrast, is sustainable. It can motivate whole lifetimes of action.
Today, in an extraordinary column in the New York Daily News, Errol Lewis makes the argument that Gore needs to leap from the nightmare to the dream.
"According to activists Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, authors of the new book "Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility," Gore's "scare 'em" approach illustrates a crisis of imagination in the environmental movement. . . With his well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize firmly in hand, former Vice President Al Gore should perform one final, monumental deed to advance his cause: Declare the environmental movement dead, and begin rebuilding it from scratch.
It's time for Al Gore to tell the world about the dream. There is room on this planet for all seven billion of us to live prosperous, free, and sustainable lives. We can accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. And by doing so, we can bring the world together not by through sacrifice and suffering but rather through overcoming.
Right now we are on the road giving talks about our book. It's been an incredible experience. Hundreds of people are turning out for our book readings - 350 in Minneapolis alone. People are excited and passionate about this moment in history. They want to hear about the dream - and want to take action to make it real.
What we need to do is hard, not easy -- expensive, not cheap. There's no use beating around the bush about it. Big challenges demand big solutions. But in doing it we will test the best of our abilities.
It's time for America to dream again