Spreading Al Gore’s Message, One Slide at a Time

Posted: February 23, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a Hummer on it that has “Bummer” scrolled below, Susie Crate has made her stance on global warming quite clear.

Recently, Crate, an anthropologist by training and assistant professor of human ecology in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Mason, had the opportunity to participate in The Climate Project, a training workshop developed by Al Gore, former vice president of the United States.

In response to the overwhelming turnout for his Oscar-nominated documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” in May 2006, Gore made a promise. To spread the word even further, he would train 1,000 people – 200 people in five separate sessions – to give his presentation. Crate was selected from more than 10,000 applicants.

During the intensive two-day training hosted by Gore in Nashville, Crate and 200 other people were trained on presentation skills. They went through the slides on global warming one by one and were able to ask questions of Gore and Michael MacCracken, chief scientist for climate change programs with the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C.

Susie Crate with Al Gore
Susie Crate with Al Gore at the Nashville training session.
Photo courtesy of Susie Crate

Now, as a certified presenter for The Climate Project, Crate is available to give Gore’s presentation to any group interested. She will be speaking to several classes at Mason and secondary schools and other organizations in the area.

As part of Mason’s Earth Week celebration in April, “An Inconvenient Truth” will be shown in the Johnson Center Cinema on April 16. After the movie, Crate will be presenting a Gore training lecture focusing on solutions.

Crate said one of the most important messages she has been trained to convey is that of hope.

“This is a huge, overwhelming issue, and when people learn about it, most of them go from ignorance to despair. The key is to keep hope in the message and say, ‘Look what we’ve overcome in the past. We can do this, we have the technology, but we have to start today.’”

Beyond the powerful experience of training with 199 others from 42 different states and 11 different countries, Crate commented that she was greatly moved by Al Gore’s passion for and commitment to bringing Earth back into balance.

“I found his film extremely effective, and now, having seen him in action sharing his slide presentation and personal story of transformation, I’m deeply affected by his sense of responsibility to turning around climate change. The spirit that moved us through those days was a spirit of the profound hope we have and must carry out to everyone that we can solve this seemingly overwhelming problem we have created for our Earth.”

Crate is also bringing the message to Mason by being actively involved in promoting sustainability and greening on Mason’s campus.

Since the winter of 2005, she and a group of faculty, staff and students have met regularly to organize Mason Earth Week, conduct an environmental task force to coordinate the greening of Mason’s campuses and develop ways to infuse Mason’s curriculum with ideas about sustainability and service learning.

She hopes to convince students and faculty that the campus is a “laboratory” that should be used properly and respected.

Crate says she is happy to give the presentation to any organization willing to listen. She can be contacted at scrate1@gmu.edu.

“To me, not acting to fight global climate change at this critical time is the biggest crime we could commit,” says Crate. “By doing so we are threatening the ability for us and all the other plant and animal inhabitants of Earth to survive.”

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