Source: from the poem, The Well Dressed Man With A Beard by American Poet Wallace Stevens.
Notes: Former Vice-President Al Gore has frequently used this Wallace Stevens quote over the years during his climate change presentations. Most recently, he quoted it in his TED talk, The case for optimism on climate change, he gave in Vancouver, Canada on February 17, 2016.
Gore starts off this talk with that he calls "The Nighmare" section of bad news: humans are still emitting carbon dioxide from fossil fuels at a record pace. As a result, we are seeing more extreme weather across the world that is harming people.
Then Gore pivots to hope pointing to the exponential growth in solar and wind energy. Even more, the explosion of new investment in clean and renewable technoloby. In 2015, Last year, almost three-quarters of all the investment in new electricity generation in the United States was from renewable energy, mostly wind and solar.
Gore then confidentally says, "We are solving this crisis. The only question is: how long will it take to get there?"
The question then becomes for Al Gore if all us will rise up to the moral and ethical challenge of climate change. Gore cites historical events of the past to show evidence that we can rist up to the challenge of climate change:
"When the abolitionists started their movement, they met with no after no after no. And then came a yes. The Women's Suffrage and Women's Rights Movement met endless no's, until finally, there was a yes. The Civil Rights Movement, the movement against apartheid, and more recently, the movement for gay and lesbian rights here in the United States and elsewhere. After the final 'no' comes a 'yes.'"
In was in this section when Gore shared the Wallace Stevens quote: "After the final no there comes a yes. And on that yes the future world depends."
Gore then ended his TED talk with these words:
"When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong, the outcome is fore-ordained because of who we are as human beings. Ninety-nine percent of us, that is where we are now and it is why we're going to win this. We have everything we need. Some still doubt that we have the will to act, but I say the will to act is itself a renewable resource."
Image Source: Brian Ettling