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Eyes on the Prize


I realize that Brad Pitt is making great, humanitarian, environmentally friendly, strides with housing down in troubled New Orleans right about now. He’s so involved that he’s even admitted his acting has begun to take a back seat to his charitable works. Bravo to him, and New Orleans certainly deserves it.

But my rock star at the end of this greenest of years is Al Gore at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which will go down in Oslo, Norway, on December 11. Tommy Lee Jones was originally set to host, but had to bow out at the last minute for personal reasons, and now Kevin Spacey has stepped in to co-host along with Uma Thurman. Performers will include Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as Live Earth alums KT Tunstall (as featured in the newest issue of Plenty, ahem ahem), Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue,  and Melissa Etheridge, whose song “I Need to Wake Up” was featured in Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

Of course with this renewed Nobel attention, there’s the usual chorus of naysayers…despite the fact that it’s not just Al Gore being awarded for his awareness-raising about climate change; it’s a whole cadre of scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). One of the more venerable publications still giving a voice to such opinions is the Wall Street Journal. This week, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wrote a cute editorial protesting that everyone is rewarding this silly scientifically proven climate change business. According to him, the Nobel Committee should have called it Al Gore’s Inner Peace prize. (Joseph Romm at the Huffington Post quickly provided a neat counterpoint.) But even the stuffy old Wall Street Journal has had to run a few pieces recently on hybrid vehicles and on going green around the house, albeit with the publication’s usual “Here’s what’$ in it for you,” bottom-line-themed slant. But there will still be some stuffed shirts trying to deny human responsibility for climate change in the face of a hundred times more proof; what matters is that even the publications that were rife with them are starting to change. This is the year that everyone started to change, and we owe a hell of a lot of it to Al Gore. Why not give the man a prize?