Former Vice President Al Gore spoke in Bellevue Tuesday to promote his Climate Reality Project, aimed at growing a grassroots movement of leaders.
Welcomed by a standing ovation, Gore spared no time telling the crowd about his love for the Pacific Northwest.
"This area of the world is so special. I've had the privilege of spending a lot of time here. It really is a wonderful blessing to be able to come here and spend time," Gore said.
He discussed changes he's seen since his initial documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was released a decade ago. His next film, An Inconvenient Sequel, is due for release soon.
Though participants held signs in protest of a proposed methanol plant during Governor Jay Inslee's keynote speech, Gore touted Inslee as an inspiration.
"As we move forward to do what's necessary to solve the climate crisis and to solve it in time, you're going to see states like Washington led by inspirational leaders like Governor Jay Inslee doing what's right, motivating others and growing their economies at the same time," he said.
Many students were present, including those suing the state over tougher carbon emission standards. Students from Port Townsend High School also participated, hoping to glean insight for their plan to push a "bottle bill" with help from local legislators. It would add a 5 cent deposit for bottles and cans that people can recoup at recycling stations.
"If we work together we can fix our future. It's up to us and we're the only ones who can really stop it," said Ashley Rosser.
"So, I think that getting involved in high school and getting other students involved is what's going to make a change because it is our future," Hannah Marx added.