>It’s been several months since I bought my tickets to see Al Gore. And although I found the actual process of buying tickets to see a former vice-president a bit strange, I was excited none the less. It was in the past several days leading up to his visit to Calgary that I realized that going to Al Gore was a bit like going to the dentist as a child. We all followed the same routine when it came to the dentist. We would wake up the morning of our appointment and brush our teeth feverishly and floss like we had never flossed before, all in hopes of tricking the dentist into thinking that we maintained better oral hygiene that we actually did.

I sort of felt the same way towards Al Gore. Since watching his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, last year, my roommate and I have been avid recyclers and have tried to be as proactive as we can when it comes to conservation. But during the past couple of days I was extra “Al Gore”-friendly. Whether I was not taking plastic bags at stores when I could simply carry the item or even car pooling to the actual event tonight. I guess I felt like Al Gore would know if I was a good environmentalist or not. Kinda like an enviro-Santa.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect tonight. I certainly couldn’t have expected the man protesting in the chicken suit yelling about propaganda, the large turn out of Calgary’s “Suits”, or even that the great David Suzuiki made the trip here to see Mr. Gore speak. Although I did rather enjoy the announcements over the intercom leading up to the show counting us down to “tonight’s performance” Was Al going to sing? I certainly wasn’t expecting a performance from him, but for $160 I had paid to see him, I guess I wouldn’t have minded a little Broadway tune or two.

The evening quickly began with Gary Holden introducing the former Vice-President. The irony of the President & CEO of Enmax Corporation introducing him was certainly not lost on good ol’ Al. He thanked Mr. Holden for a nice, albeit politically safe speech and got the ball rolling pretty quickly.

I’ll be honest with you, after the first 5 minutes or so I had to check my ticket and make sure hadn’t mistakenly stumbled in a Yuk Yuk’s comedy club. (Wouldn’t be the first time.) Al had one joked lined up after another. Whether it was about his failed presidential bid, the current Administration or even a whimsical story about him and his wife getting “discovered” in a small family restaurant in rural America. Al Gore knew how to grab the audiences attention, he always has.

That tactic worked well throughout the night. One of the reasons Mr. Gore’s presentation is so enthralling is because he is passionate about the subject matter. But he also realizes that what he is dealing with is serious stuff, and then every now and then we all need a laugh. His ability to comfortably go between the serious and light-hearted carried him with ease through the three hour presentation.

I also really enjoyed how Al Gore knew who he was talking to. You can’t walk into the energy capital of Canada talking about the environment and not expect to ruffle some feathers. But Gore never wavered. He acknowledged he knew it would be a tough sell here in Calgary, but thought the fact that we were there tonight, meant that we were interested in what he had to say. Whether we chose to believed it or not.

His presentation from the movie to stage hasn’t changed much. He still has his Apple Power book displayed prominently and his statistics and images of the changing world are just as emotionally damaging as the first time around. He has updated it a little here and there. He included images of the houses in Newfoundland that were swallowed up by the ocean along with the fact that this past winter was the warmest ever recorded, ever.

For me seeing Al Gore in person was more important that I really ever thought possible. Earlier today, I woke up to discover my car was towed. I had been meaning to update my registration and waited too long and awoke to find out that the city was done waiting and sent my car to the impound. I was so frustrated because I was planning on doing it and never got around to it. It just never seemed like the right time. It wasn’t until later on tonight that I realized that we, as a society, are doing the same thing. Whether you believe Al Gore and his presentation or not, you cannot deny that we are living in a changing world. And we can all keep waiting to buy our Hybrid cars, energy efficient appliances or stop lighting rooms we aren’t in. But eventually, like with my car, we will wait too long and be forced to wake up. But by then, I’m afraid we’ll have to deal with a hell of a lot more than a towed Saturn Ion.

What I think was most poignant for me tonight was upon exiting the theatre we were given an individual package containing a energy efficient light bulb. “How great” I thought, “Maybe change won’t be that hard.” Then I walked outside and saw the giant stretch GMC Envoy limo waiting outside the theatre to pick someone up from the presentation. You know what I thought then? I’ve always loved a challenge.

Mike Morrison