08/10/18 — Al Gore kicking off ecological tour

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Al Gore kicking off ecological tour

By Melody Brown-Peyton
Published in News on August 10, 2018 5:50 AM

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Former vice president Al Gore.

Former Vice President Al Gore, along with his daughter, Karenna Gore, and the Rev. William J. Barber II, will kick off a two-day tour in North Carolina on Sunday as part of the "Ecological Justice Organizing Tour."

The tour will begin at 9:45 a.m. at Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ at 2110 N. William St.

Gore is the founder and chairman of "Climate Reality Project," an environmental advocacy group with a mission to "catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society," according to Gore's website.

Karenna Gore is the director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.

The event is co-sponsored by the Poor People's Campaign, a national political activism group, which Barber leads. Al Gore will join Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach and national co-chairman of the Poor Peoples Campaign.

"The positions we are taking is neither left nor right, conservative nor liberal," Barber said.

The tour is designed to focus on North Carolinians directly impacted by toxic waste contamination. Individuals who have been impacted by ecological justice issues will speak on Sunday and throughout the tour.

During the event, they will speak about local issues, solutions, and their plan to mobilize and register voters.

"This type of injustice has impacted poor people and people of color," Barber said.

Barber said communities of color and poor communities face a disproportionate environmental burden. They are often forced to live closer to toxic dumping grounds and the pollution from fossil fuel extraction, he said.

"All elected officials should support policies that will hold companies accountable for the damage they have caused," Barber said. "Officials should require them to clean up their messes and prevent the pollution of communities in the future."

Also on the tour will be community activists who are against coal ash and fracking. They will be taking part in speaking events while touring areas that have been affected by the coal ash spill.

In February 2014, a drainage pipe burst and coal ash was released into the Dan River. Many in the area were not able to use the water and had to rely on bottled water.

The event Sunday is open to the public.