Rolling into the weekend, I was revved up for a little book signing, maybe a little interviewing, but I had no clue I would end up chilling with two living icons of the environmental movement in one day, let alone in one room. Okay, so we weren’t exactly chilling per se. But we were in the same room.
Packing up at the office on Friday, NOW editor Alice Klein offers me a ticket to join her at the Al Gore talk at the Green Living Show the next morning and I jumped. The cynical environmentalist within that keeps a watchful eye on Gore’s ties to big business vanishes into thin air and out comes this leaping leprechaun doing backflips and cartwheels. I’m fucking excited. Especially since this was going to be a pure pleasure talk with no pen or notebook in hand.
The next morning, I skip into the Direct Energy Centre through the wrong door and stumble upon a gauzy draped tunnel of a walkway decked out, the nearby security guard informs me, for none other than Mr. Gore himself. Noting the lack of green groupies in sight, I consider waiting on standby to see whether I can toss the former American VP a copy of my book. Judging by the rampant energy consumption of his Nashville house he could use a few Ecoholic pointers.
But I hate looking like a fawner so I head to the proper gates and make my way in, coincidentally, right behind the always hunky David Suzuki. They must think I’m part of Suzuki’s posse of badge-wearing aids (my badge was for manning the NOW booth, not VIP access) because they let me in without checking my ticket (of course, my friends are now all kicking me for not handing the unused entrance pass to the sold out event over to them! Sorry, I was distracted!)
On the inside, Alice Klein and I nonchalantly sneak our way into the reserved section at the front – I figure it’s probably wise to discreetly rip off the little sign on my chair demarking the seat for a Home Depot exec before I get comfy. Damn, I think we’re even more primely seated than McGuinty. Sweet.
When Gore saunters on stage the crowd goes nuts. Especially when he decides to use the first 20 minutes of his talk to harpoon Harper and his paltry excuse for a green plan. He’s fairly diplomatic about the whole bit except for a few right hooks calling the plan’s intensity targets a complete fraud. Finally the man is pulling off his gloves. Then he tells us it’s time to show us a few pictures. Well, really he’s talking about the notorious slide show made famous by An Inconvenient Truth. There’s something grand about seeing the live version with Gore’s thick and saucy drawl narrating over top knowing he’s 20 feet in front of you. Although a crack about all his pull at Mac computers (he is on Mac’s board of directors after all) just reminds me how he’s been totally useless at making Mac a greener company (Greenpeace ranked them at the very bottom of its list of computer makers, thanks to Mac’s lack of commitment to phasing toxins by specified dates).
I sneak out before the talk’s done because I’m due at NOW’s booth, which ends up being a really great way of meeting and greeting veteran Ecoholics who’ve already been reading the book and just came by to say how much they’re enjoying it or sign fresh copies for those who’ve never even heard of the column. It’s inspiring to see all walks of life at the show, from a woman in her late 80s who bigs me up for my garbage-free challenge article to out of towners excited about going green for the first time in their lives.
Still I’m nervous about doing AM radio in the afternoon, never sure about how the book’s going to go over but the interviewer absolutely loves the book! She even says she keeps it by her nightstand and reads it before she hits the sheets and keeps calling on all her listeners to pick up a copy. So nice to be interviewed by people that have actually read the book (trust me, this doesn’t always happen).
Tomorrow, I leave for the official book tour. First stop: Montreal. Should be interesting going back to my hometown. Stay tuned.