ARMSTRONG and Associates

Al Gore sets out to sell global warming using the best of PR tactics

Al Gore has trained 1000 Americans from the ranks of Wal-Mart greeters to retired executives to Carmon Diaz to deliver his Oscar winning Inconvenient Truth slide show to schools, Rotary clubs and nursing homes throughout the country, according to a April 2007 article in USA Today.

And Jenny Clad, the project director for the training says she hears he “may do even more training.”

The training has representatives from all 50-states and 52% of the attendees at these meetings leave saying they want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Two truths appear to emerge from the training: 1) Al Gore is now considered a quasi-rock star and 2) the age groups of the followers of the movement defy explanation.

Gore has gone from a lonely voice in the wilderness to having a legion of followers of all ages. The trainees vary in age from 18 to 70-plus, from East to West Coast, from suit and ties to sweat suits and flip-flops. Political persuasion varies from Democrats to Republicans to Libertarians. Native Americans co-exist with Hispanics and African-Americans.

However, all this gives many people pause. Pat Michaels, a senior fellow with the conservative Cato Institute says he is very uncomfortable with a thousand people who aren't technically trained out giving presentations on complex issues and proselytizing one extreme point of view.

However, Myron Ebell, a global warming specialist and a detractor with the Competitive Enterprise Institute gives Gore credit for “building momentum” that has put the critics on the defensive.

Gore, who is acknowledged as a polarizing political figure, similar to his Oscar-winning colleague and devotee Michael Moore is able to get his message out to the “real America”, that area between the two coats by using these substitutes.

Word of the training circulated last year on blog and environmental web sites and applications flooded in. Candidates were chosen for training based on their ability to commit to doing ten presentations and reaching unique groups of people.

This has made for a mixed bag of folks being trained from Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones to blonde University of Oklahoma sophomore Tiffany Legg to Jayni Chase, wife of comedian Chevy Chase, whom she says is “really upset about the environment.”

Chase says her husband is even getting serious about “swapping his sports car for a hybrid” similar to the one that Al Gore’s son drives.

Several of the evangelical recruits to the Gore team admit it is the “scary parts of the movie” from the dying polar bears to the melting ice caps that got to them.

Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and sister to Fox legal analyst Greta Van Susteren told Marco R. della Cava, the reporter for USA Today that doing such presentations are “therapeutic” because “you hear all this negative stuff about the state of the Earth, but then you do your slide show and it makes you feel better.”

Van Susteren had given dozens of such presentations as of the date of the article in April.

The presentation training follows much of the standard stuff of training: be relaxed, move your arms around, engage the audience, and don’t debate the critics.

And of course, by participating in the training the audience gets, at the end of each session, a visit from the former vice president who moves to center stage and then evokes everyone from Ghandi to Oliver Wendell Holmes to M. Scott Peck to explain why global warming is so important and why they must go forward with evangelical zeal to get the word out.

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