f o r e w o r d
In April 1994, Vice President Al Gore wrote to the young authors of Peace Child International’s
Rescue Mission : Planet Earth,
congratulating them on a “rst-rate job which capturesthe essence of the agreements signed at the Rio Earth Summit. I attended the Summit and, likeyou, read through all the agreements: reading your version was considerably more enjoyable!President Clinton and I are forging strong links with young people throughout the world. Together,we can move rapidly towards the sustainable development of our planet’s resources.” 13 yearslater, Al Gore, Oscar-winning presenter of
An Inconvenient Truth
, was less upbeat. Accepting hisNobel prize, he said:“We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency. Despite honorable exceptions,too many of today’s leaders are best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those
who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “
They are decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift.
” Today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the
thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. As a result, the earth
has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us that something basic is wrong. Weare what is wrong, and we must make it right.”“In September 2007, a study by US Navy researchers warns that the North Polar ice cap couldbe completely gone during summer in 7 years. In the last few months, it has been harder tomisinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South
America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods.
Peoples on low-lying Pacic islands are planning evacuations of places they have long calledhome. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed as we have begun towage war on the earth itself.”“It is time to make peace with the planet.”“We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that is seen whennations mobilize for war. Wars are won when leaders nd words that release a mighty surge ofcourage, hope and readiness to sacrice for a protracted and mortal challenge. Mahatma Gandhiawakened the largest democracy on earth with what he called “Satyagraha” – “truth force.” Truthhas the power to unite us. There is an African proverb that says, “
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
.” We need to go far, quickly.These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the rst years of a bright future if we dowhat we must. We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but politicalwill is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. “
We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.”