Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Allentown woman to work with Gore on global warming

This summer's documentary ''An Inconvenient Truth'' made an unlikely movie star out of Al Gore, who narrates the film.

But for Jamie Harkins, the former vice president has always been something of a star, going back to her environmental economics class at Muhlenberg College, where she read Gore's books.

So when Harkins — who lives in Allentown and works as vice president of finance at Easton's State Theatre — learned about a chance to work with Gore, she signed up right away, even before she knew what the work entailed.

''I just knew I had to do it,'' said Harkins, who leaves this week for Tennessee to work with The Climate Project. She'll take a four-day course — led by Gore — and learn about issues surrounding global warming, and receive training in giving the same presentations that form the basis for the documentary.

According to nonprofit The Climate Project's Web site, the same course also is offered in Sydney, Australia.

When the training is over, Harkins comes back to the Lehigh Valley and will spend the next year giving the presentation at schools, churches and businesses.

The whole process began last summer, when Harkins, who graduated from Parkland High school, participated in a nationwide conference call with Gore, who alluded to the project.

''All he said was 'I'm training a thousand people to give this global warming presentation,''' she said. Harkins began sending letters to Gore's office, and eventually was chosen — along with others nationwide — to come to Tennessee. At that point, she hadn't even seen the documentary yet. She's seen it since then, given copies of the DVD as Christmas gifts, and taken other people to see it, converting some global warming skeptics along the way.

She's also started driving a car with a diesel engine, making sure she practices what she preaches.

Despite any debate over global warming, Harkins insists ''An Inconvenient Truth'' is not a political movie, but one that simply lays out scientific ideas.

''Really, it's not that people are against the idea anymore,'' she said. ''They just don't know what it's all about.''

No comments: