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Enthusiastic Audience Greets 'Inconvenient Truth' Producer

By Caroline Gilley Article published December 4, 2006

It’s hard to imagine a more receptive audience for global warming activist Laurie David than the one gathered in UVM’s packed Ira Allen Chapel on the unseasonably warm evening of Nov. 29. David, perhaps best known as the producer of the film An Inconvenient Truth, addressed a capacity crowd of more than 1,500 (even the overflow location CC Theater was standing-room only) with her talk “Stop Global Warming.”

David, whose production credits also include the HBO documentary Too Hot Not to Handle, ticked off statistic after sobering statistic about the effects global warming will have on all of us, calling it “the most urgent challenge ahead of us…in the opinion of the world’s most respected scientists.” She argued that the issue will change the core of our communities forever, citing ways it could become very personal for Vermonters, such as wreaking havoc on tourism during the ski season and the maple syrup industry.

And while international scientists agree that the world community has less than ten year years to slow it down, David implored the audience not to go “from denial straight to despair” as many people have, but to realize we have the power to make change. “All of the solutions to this problem already exist,” David said. “What’s missing is the will to solve it. We need a serious and immediate shift in attitude. It’s about change, not sacrifice...and about mind-blowing opportunity. We could start a clean, green industrial revolution.”

Afi Ahmadi ’93, a member of the Vermont Regional Alumni Board, which worked with the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs to bring David to UVM, said that the event supported the board's goal of broad community outreach. “When the opportunity arose to invite Laurie David, one of this country's leading environmentalists, to UVM, one of this country's leading institutions for environmental education, it seemed to be the perfect fit,” Ahmadi said.