Yeoh Siew Hoon listens and learns as former US Vice President Al Gore says that global warming is everyone's problem: yours, mine, the CEO's and those pesky senators.
I suppose I knew Al Gore would be inspiring in person. I just didn't know how much.
There he was, on stage at the Global Brand Forum in Singapore last week, and from the moment he introduced himself as "Hi, I am Al Gore, I used to be the President of the United States" to the moment he ended, he had all of us in the palm of his hand.
His humour made him human. Introducing his partner David Blood in his investment company, Generation Investment Management, he said he wanted to call the company "Blood and Gore" but his partner resisted. "I don't know. I think that's a pretty powerful name."
His honesty made him real. Asked why he is not running for the US presidency when clearly he is the man of the moment, he said, "If I became President, I'd made different mistakes. I don't want to comment on the current administration because I fear I am losing my objectivity on Bush and Cheney."
He went on to say he wouldn't be running this time "but I don't rule it out at some point in time".
Recalling his trip to Japan to discuss the Kyoto Protocol when he was Vice President, he said, "I was embarrassed I could only persuade one out of 100 senators to vote for it. I don't know if enough would vote for it now because people still do not feel an appropriate sense of urgency yet.
"But it feels right for me to bring about this change in public opinion in the US so that whoever is elected as the leader will feel the pressure of the people to solve this crisis.
"A great leader is important but there are limits to leadership which depends on what the people will bear."
While his message of global warming and the consequences of climate change is not new for those who've read his book "An Inconvenient Truth", watched his movie and been reading the media for the last year or so, hearing it in person from the man himself made us truly fearful for our world and extremely uncomfortable as individuals and businesses.
He came armed with facts. Everyday, we emit 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The North Pole ice cap is melting three times faster than predicted by experts and could disappear in 34 years. The Himalayan glaciers - the "Water Tower" of Asia - that feed the seven great rivers are retreating. Glacier National Park in the Rockies will have no glaciers in 13 years. A six metre rise in sea level will result in 400 million refugees. (As he spoke, 50 million people had been displaced by floods in India and Bangladesh.)
"We have been relatively slow to come to grips with how serious this issue is but we are beginning to come to grips. More people are asking governments to act. We can no longer treat the global atmosphere as an open sewer," he said.
His messages made us think.
As individuals, he said, we can all do our part and make small changes in our lives. Drive hybrid cars, convert to fluorescent light bulbs, use solar energy where possible, look at carbon offsets as an alternative (although he admitted there was skepticism over this) ...
It was clear though that this personal territory was not something he felt totally comfortable with, as he conceded that certain changes in lifestyle such as what he had undertaken were not affordable for average folks. But he stressed, there were little things we could all do as individuals.
Companies, he said, can no longer afford to ignore the issue because of the demands of the marketplace.
"For the first time, we are hearing a growing chorus, what are you doing about it? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Companies that are ahead of the curve are being rewarded in the marketplace. There are business reasons for you to invest in becoming part of the solution to the climate crisis."
He added, "When you become part of the solution to the most serious crisis mankind has ever faced, you will feel a surge of pride from your shareholders and employees."
His vision is clear. While businesses have a role to play, governments have to act.
He believes in a CO2 tax which he says will force companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Capping and allowing carbon emissions trading can be effective, if done properly. He thinks the idea of carbon emissions labeling for products has merit.
Mostly, his passion inspired. "Martin Luther King was inspired by Gandhi who said, you must become the change you wish to see in the world. The Indians have a word for it, "truth force".
"Human beings are capable of it."
Quoting the book, The Road Less Travelled, he said, "evil is the absence of truth".
"The political system is like climate change - it is non-linear. Change is gradual but if it reaches tipping point, it can change very rapidly and we will see a dramatic acceleration of the pace of change.
"Businesses ought to be prepared for this. I don't think I am an idealist or am naïve. I have a big ally - it's called reality."
It seems that by losing the most powerful job in the world, Gore has gone on to conquer the world.
Visit The Transit Cafe at www.thetransitcafe.com for your weekly cuppa of news, humour, opinion and blogs at Travel's Busiest Junction.