The big Great Lakes Week 2011 just got a little bigger as the International Joint Commission has confirmed former vice president Al Gore as the keynote speaker.
Gore will speak at the commission’s biennial meeting in Detroit Oct. 12-14. His address is slated for 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 13.
The meeting is part of Great Lakes Week: Detroit 2011, which brings together U.S. and Canadian government officials with public and private groups to explore the lakes’ most pressing problems, potential solutions and on-going restoration.
Gore served in both the House and Senate prior to his two terms as the 45th U.S. vice president, and has since authored three environmental books. He was also co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.” He chairs The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit seeking solutions to climate change.
The commission’s biennial meeting was borne out of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. The meeting allows the commission to report on the health of the Great Lakes and progress in restoring their health, and is an effort to inform the public about what’s going on throughout the basin.
Gore has been an outspoken environmental advocate and a polarizing figure. His work on climate change issues led to his invite.
“His efforts on climate change will inform the IJC’s (International Joint Commission) future science-based work on Great Lakes climate impacts,” Lana Pollack, U.S. chair of the International Joint Commission, said in a prepared statement.
Great Lakes Week is Oct. 11-14 in Detroit. The International Joint Commission will discuss reports on nearshore issues, chemicals, harmful algae, invasive species, beach quality, and fish consumption in the Great Lakes region – issues that are the basis for their 16th Biennial Report to be released in 2012.