News & Views

Al Gore Discusses Business and Consumer Role in Solving Global Climate Crisis at Recyclebank Event


Former Vice President shared perspectives on network effect in motivating behavior change on a mass scale

NEW YORK—THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2011—Recyclebank®, the company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from local and national businesses, today revealed remarks that Al Gore made on the global climate crisis at a private event hosted by the company. In his presentation given yesterday evening at the Urban Zen Center in New York City, Gore addressed the true scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. He also shared his viewpoints on how citizen, consumer and corporate engagement will play a pivotal role in catalyzing change on a mass scale.

Gore spoke to an exclusive audience of more than 250 people, comprised of leaders from the sustainability community including Recyclebank’s Sustainability Advisory Council, NGO leaders as well as venture capitalists, senior marketing and advertising executives, and Recyclebank employees and partners.

After comments from Recyclebank’s CEO Jonathan Hsu, Gore addressed the audience and engaged in an interactive dialog about the important role of large consumer brands and the digital medium in generating mass-oriented solutions.

Comments from Al Gore’s Presentation
• “Scientists used to say that we were loading the dice; changing the odds that these extreme weather events would take place. Now they are saying that we’re painting more dots on the dice. These extreme weather events are becoming bigger and more frequent. In the past year, more than 200 cities in the U.S. alone broke their high temperature records. If we allow this to continue, the country will literally become unrecognizable.”

• “Crisis is one word in our language, but in Chinese and Japanese, it is represented by two characters, two words—danger and opportunity.”

• “Change can come in non-linear form; not seeming like much at first, but building until it reaches a tipping point, an escape velocity—then it can become cataclysmic. Citizen engagement can model this pattern. We need to find ways to get the network effect through various channels—digital, environmental, social media, gamification, awareness. If you could attach a currency to that, it’s even more powerful.”

• “How do you motivate people? Change is motivated by values and vision, which leads to new ways of doing things. For the environment, the psychology of motivation is facing many barriers. If there is a way to give people a monetary incentive to develop an ingrained habit like recycling or energy usage, make it fun and connect them to businesses that save them money, it can be enough to get them over the ‘want to’ line. I’ve seen some amazing communities where that is happening.”

• “When there is a looming market for something that can be improved by innovation and R&D, you get incredible efficiencies and rapid advancements. I’m excited that so many businesses are finding profitable ways to address and create these advancements.”

• “Pioneers in business that are taking the steps to reduce energy are unlocking opportunities for tremendous environmental and economic impact.”

“It was both an honor and an inspiration to have Al Gore share his perspective on how we can fundamentally change the way we think about the climate crisis—individually and collectively—and in turn, change behavior on a mass scale to generate solutions,” said Hsu. “Recyclebank shares Gore’s goals of motivating millions to make choices that are more sustainable, as that is directly aligned with the community we’re building and the willingness and desire of our members to learn about and take green actions. However, we acknowledge there is a lot more work to do and realize how important it is to continue to innovate, forge partnerships and enlist influencer support to truly create a global culture of sustainability.”

Media Assets
• Event photos:
• Recyclebank logo:

Recyclebank helps create a more sustainable future by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from more than 3,000 local and national businesses. Through its online platform and partnerships with municipalities, haulers, small businesses and corporate brands, Recyclebank is empowering individuals to make a collective impact on the environment by increasing household recycling, reducing household energy usage and taking other environmentally-preferred actions. Recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme and for Outstanding Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit

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