We’re watching the livestream of the Keynote Address at PowerShift 2011, where Al Gore and Van Jones have addressed a thousands-strong crowd of hopeful, passionate and motivated youth activists. Thanks to our new friends, John in New Zealand and Cameo in Florida and their efforts transcribing this livestream, we’re thrilled to share this working transcript of the speeches with you. Read on and be inspired!
Former United States Vice President Al Gore
When I was young, during the civil right movement, …
people could not answer the moral question of discrimination.
That’s when the laws began to change.
2010 was the hottest year ever recorded. What part of that is difficult to understand? Biggest drought in Russia’s history. Food prices at all time high. Look at American Southwest. Evergreen trees destroyed by climate change. We have to take action to protect our country and the world.
Flood in Pakistan. Destabilizing a nuclear armed country.
Would these things be happening without global warming? No.
Columbia. 2 million homeless due to flooding.
Australia. Area equivalent to France and Germany flooded.
Tennessee. Once in 1000 year rainfall.
Happening all over the world. As temperature has gone up,
warmer air holds more moisture. So when it rains, you get floods.
Temperature dries out soil moisture.
New study projecting consequences of droughts.
Are we supposed to stick our heads in the sand and igore this?
We’ve got to respond to reality.
Takes courage and leadership.
We’ve got more work to do.
Also in this past year, we saw a big block of ice, 4x the size of Manhattan.
Super typhoon. 190 mile per hour winds.
The ocean acidification problem.
You can go on and look around the world. People may wake up.
Look at positive changes.
Energy companies – oil, coal companies – have spent enormous amounts of money to paralyze political process.
Response has to come from grass roots.
You can do it.
We have a grassroots fantastic, growing movement.
Photovoltaic energy – just a couple of years from being competitive with grid power.
Efficiency. Businesses can be more profitable by reducing wasteful practices.
We need to change the laws. Put a price on carbon. Encourage us in the right direction.
Out of sight, out of mind. CO2 is invisible.
Raising your voices.
Pollution will be there for a long time.
Short term – part of the problem we have to solve.
Yes, it is complex.
What triggered recession?
Mortgages given to people who could not pay back.
Lumped together, made short term profits.
When tested, chain reaction.
Same thing now.
Trillions of dollars of sub-prime carbon assets.
90 million tons every 24 hours.
We need to stop borrowing money from China to burn fossil fuel.
Young people gathered here. It is hard to grasp how important this is.
Inconvenient Youth – thank you.
I want to issue a challenge. We have not yet done enough.
Our leaders have not done enough.
50 years ago. President John F Kennedy – man on the moon in 10 years.
8 years later, Armstrong did it.
Average age of systems engineers at NASA was 26.
So they heard the challenge at age 18.
If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
Let’s start this movement and get it into high gear.
Make no mistake.
When your children are your age. Depending on the circumstances
they find themselves.
If they look at rising sea levels, and 100s of millions of climate refugees,
a failure of policy
melted ice cap,
They would be justified in asking, “What were you doing?”
Didn’t you hear the scientists?
If your children see they live a world with a sense of renewal.
Building solar panels,
sustainable agriculture and society,
if they have hope in their hearts,
I want them them look back,
“How did you find the moral courage to face up to the coal companies?”
Part of the answer will be this meeting in Washington, DC.
All we need is political will.
Political will is a renewable resource.
Let’s get to work.
Van Jones, Executive Director of Green for All
The most important time in American history.
Not just have a green job, but a green career.
Not pollution, but solution.
People behind me share your ambition, and your fears.
Worst economy in 2 generations.
Join on Monday – the briefcases.
Don’t leave anybody behind.
Wealthy people have the solar panels.
The poor have the big energy bills.
The poor can’t afford the solar panels.
Shift the power.
We can’t afford the poor people NOT to have solar panels.
I love rich folks. But they tend to live in the hills where it is shady.
Poor people live in the flat places where it is hot.
How about we have the solar panels there
and have the energy companies write them some checks
to put some food on the table.
Thank you so much for your work.
Your generation has to stand together.
You don’t know yet but the entire planet,
the children of all species are banking on you.
DC is having a bipartisan failure to rescue this economy,
While they are stuck, you can act.
Your generation is rising.
Biggest generation ever had.
Baby boomers transformed America.
244 years of enslavement.
Broke Jim Crow in 4 years, first black president.
You are bigger than the baby boomers.
You are more diverse
more ecologically conscious.
How many have a laptop computer
iPad? Good. I don’t have one either. My birthday is coming up.
If you have a laptop, or smart phone or iPad
you have more and better computing power than the entire US government
had when they put a man on the moon.
You are a walking technological superpower.
Stop using them as toys. Start using them as tools to change America.
You have to make a decision.
Freedom riders – 19 to 25 years old.
You are not the leaders of tomorrow – you are the leaders of Today.
Shift the power.
Don’t just hold one party accountable.
Hold both parties.
If you have a friend who should be an A+ student, getting C’s and D’s,
you’d put on peer pressure to achieve higher.
If you are a hero, for ensuring your friend gets an A,
aren’t you a bigger hero for helping your other friend get an A on his presidency?
Don’t stop there politically.
We have an energy system
powered by death.
Fueled by death.
Why do they call them fossil fuels?
Oil – dead for 60 million years.
Coal – dead for 300 million years – pull out of ground.
Burn in industries. We burn death.
We act shocked, having pulled death out of the ground,
that we get death out of the skies.
Let’s stop fueling death.
Let’s stop digging those holes in America.
Shift the power.
Look at the sky, at the sun.
The Suadi Arabia of solar power.
Look at the wind.
Look at the eyes of the workers who could be building solar turbines.
Look at grandmothers who know how to do community gardening.
Look at Native Americans.
Shift the power – change the way we power our buildings and machines.
How we power our bodies.
Those two together can change America.
Shift the power – but don’t just stop there.
Shift the power at the Thanksgiving table,
with your Uncle Joe.
Start dominating the discussion.
Shift the power – not just for Democrats, lefties. It is for everybody.
You have the opportunity.
Don’t you believe in liberty.
As energy consumers for the rest of our lives,
shouldn’t we be able to power our own communities.
Have our own solar panels and wind turbines,
producing our own energy.
Shouldn’t we have the liberty of America
power in a new way.
We are not going to build wind farms in New York City.
We are going to build the wind farms in the red states.
Something for people of all colors.
Shift the discussion.
We understand that renewable energy is hippy power.
We like our hippies.
But it is also cowboy power, farmer power, …
Don’t let anybody divide you.
Glad the Tea Party is talking about liberty.
I love liberty.
Pledge of allegiance says,
“Liberty and Justice for All”
Justice for minorities, women, gays, …
Shift the power.
Shift the power.
Thank you very much.
The LiveStream is still going on as we post this, so we’ll add the UStream videos once the speeches conclude. Please feel free to repost these speeches, and share your edits and comments. Shift the Power!
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