Al Gore is worried about the future. We've reached a point, he says, where the very survival of our civilization is at risk. But he's optimistic that we can turn things around, too. Motherboard sat down with the United States' most famous—and surely busiest—former vice president at this year's Social Good Summit, where we talked about two possible futures Gore sees confronting humanity.
I asked him to describe the best and worst case scenarios for what civilization might look like 100 years from now. In one, Americans undertake an "Occupy democracy movement" to restore our political system, which Gore says has been "hacked" by money and special interests, and come together to fight climate change. In the other, the whole of human civilization lies in ruin.
We're going to need serious political reform, a web-driven social movement, and the best available telecommunication and clean energy technologies in the days ahead, he says. And Gore's been thinking a lot about the future—it's the name of his latest book, after all. His Climate Reality Project just launched a new initiative that artfully reveals the myriad things we stand to lose down the line as global warming advances.
As such, speaking with Gore was a sobering event—he can sound every bit as apocalyptic today as he did when An Inconvenient Truth came out seven years ago. Can you blame him? 97 percent of the world's climate scientists agree, after all, that the dangers he describes are a result of human activity. And we're not slowing down.
So which will it be, the way Gore sees it?
"The answer is in our hands," he says.