Environment Picture

Environmentalist deputized by Al Gore to present climate change facts

A member of the MEC family is a foot soldier for Al Gore. Kathryn Savoie, Environmental Program Director for the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services, is helping to spread Gore’s message that global warming is the biggest moral challenge facing civilization.

Gore’s popular 2006 film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, was only the beginning of his work on the issue. It’s indeed a crusade—Gore didn’t just line up producers, appear in the film, and walk away. He’s working with scientists and educators to train more than 1,000 people from all walks of life to make presentations on the effects of, and solutions to, global warming.

Last September, Savoie traveled to Nashville, met Gore and received three days of training. Now she’s scheduling free, hour-long presentations for community groups and anyone else who’s interested.

University of Michigan Professor Henry Pollack, whose wife Lana Pollack is MEC’s president, has also been trained to do the presentations.

What was the experience in Nashville like? “For me, the most powerful part of the training was boarding a biodiesel bus at 6:30 a.m. to go to the Gore’s family farm,” Savoie said. “There we gathered on the banks of the Caney Fork River, and Mr. Gore gave a very moving welcome. We observed a moment of silence, just listening to the birds singing, crickets chirping—it was a very powerful, serene moment. We talked about how most of us have some place that for each of us represents a spiritual connection to the earth. We talked about the fact that as more and more people live in urban environments, too many of us don’t experience that close spiritual connection to the earth. Then we went to the old barn, where Mr. Gore gave his slide presentation and spent the rest of the day answering our questions, slide by slide.

“That gathering by the river was such an important beginning because it set the stage for all that followed—to be reminded what this is all about, what is at stake.”

Savoie and her quest were prominently featured in Metro Times, southeast Michigan’s alternative weekly newspaper (“Heating up: local front in war on global warming,” December 6, 2006) with a circulation of 100,000. Savoie told Metro Times her presentations will be Michigan-specific: she’ll include data about the reduction of water levels in the Great Lakes and the threat of mosquito-borne diseases that can occur with warmer temperatures and an increased insect population.

“I wish everyone could see this presentation,” Savoie said. “It explains the science of global warming very clearly and makes plain the urgency of the situation, while at the same time indicating that there is hope—provided we all become part of the solution.”

To schedule a free presentation, contact:
Kathryn Savoie, PhD
ACCESS
6450 Maple Street
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 216-2225
ksavoie@accesscommunity.org

-Patrick Diehl, Michigan Nature Association
RELATED TOPICS: climate change
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