The Case For Optimism

Six minutes into Al Gore’s 2016 Ted Talk, “The Case For Optimism on Climate Change,” and I do not feel very optimistic. The brilliant Gore has concisely, clearly, and grippingly laid out the status of global warming today, and it is grim. But, while I wait for the talk to shift from terrifying diagnoses to exciting statistics about strides made in energy efficiency, which it ultimately does, I begin to notice what it is about Gore’s tone that instills a sense of comfort in me regardless. What is comforting about Gore’s attitude is his futurism. He does not lament the past for a single moment, and he understands that global warming is the reality we live in, a reality that affects every part of our lives. He embraces this reality, and he has solutions. At a political moment when partisan disagreement is a sore subject for everyone Gore focuses his energy on practical ways for all of us to invest in a sustainable future. As his talk turns to the strides made by the Paris Agreement, it becomes clear that the biggest inspiration he gets is from the people who have fought and will continue to fight for what they believe in.