Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore received the 2009 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award last Thursday evening for his successful efforts to raise awareness about climate change. The award was inspired by Applied Materials Chairman Emeritus James Morgan’s belief that technology can be a tool to turn ideas into solutions for a better world. It has been given to individuals whose vision and leadership help to build a just, humane and sustainable world. Former recipients include Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the microfinance pioneer, Bill Gates and Intel philanthropist Gordon Moore.
Gore’s most recent book “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” is a powerful and inspiring call to action. “Despite the many challenges to solving the climate crisis, there is hope, and the opportunities are everywhere –especially in the form of increasingly powerful technological tools,” Gore said.
At a black-tie gala, attended by 1,500 Silicon Valley business executives, industry and political leaders, Gore accepted the award with an impassioned speech.
“Outside this successful and inspiring valley, there are a billion people living on less than $1 per day,” said Gore. “People in the low-lying delta areas of Bangladesh are vulnerable to the conditions caused by climate change.”
The Tech Awards also recognized 15 individuals for applying technology in practical ways to significantly improve the lives of people around the world. One of the honored innovators is applying PV technology in Bangladesh, to bring education and solar energy to communities devastated by flooding.
“This is Silicon Valley’s best night of the year as we celebrate and support the amazing teams and individuals who are using technology to address our planet’s greatest challenges with vision, impact, creativity and passion,” said Mike Splinter, CEO and Chairman of Applied Materials, who have sponsored the awards for the last nine years.
“Tonight we have seen what happens when we harness the very best of ourselves with the express purpose of developing innovative ideas for a more promising future,” said Peter Friess, president of the Tech Museum of Innovation.
“Technology offers an opportunity to solve this crisis,” said Gore. “We have everything we need to solve it except the political will — but fortunately political will in the United States is a renewable resource.”