WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Former Vice President Al Gore compared the civil rights movement to the fight against climate change while speaking to graduates at Princeton University on class day.

Gore explained that before a change can happen, American society must agree that there is a problem to begin with. The Democrat recalled a moment during his childhood in the South where a friend made a racist remark and his other friends were quick to tell the kid to “shut up.” They informed him that his way of thinking was no longer acceptable.

He then went on to explain that progress can be made for climate change through changing the discussion, much like the civil rights movement.

“After the conversation was changed, the laws were changed,” Gore stated.

Gore also noted another situation where he was a student-nominee member at the board of Harvard trying to end apartheid in South Africa.

“It took some time, and the administration didn’t want to go along with that, but over time it was seen as the right thing to do,” Gore said. “So there will be a conversation, not only about divestment or the EPA’s announcement today, but about the future of human civilization, and I’m going to ask you to help win that conversation.”

He also warned against those who are skeptical on scientific evidence of global warming explained that a choice must be made “on the basis of reason and the best available evidence.”

“They are merchants of doubt who present falsehoods in an effort to confuse people to the point where they can’t recognize the truth,” Gore stated. “They are doing exactly what the tobacco companies did 40 years ago, they hired actors and dressed them up as doctors.”

Even though Gore is a graduate of Harvard, he was appointed by the senior student body to speak and was made an honorary member of the class of 2014. Typically Princeton alum are selected to speak for Class Day.



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