Berry Liberman on Laurie David
2016 marks the tenth anniversary of An Inconvenient Truth, the film that changed the world. Academy Award-winning producer Laurie David is the force that made it happen. Strong, clear and unapologetic, Laurie is driven by a core need to tell stories of injustice. Horrified by the findings of Al Gore’s now-famous slideshow presentation at a Hollywood fundraiser, she approached the former vice president of the United States to make a film that would get the message out to the world. What began as an advocacy project became a global phenomenon as the world’s eyes were opened to the human-triggered environmental catastrophe we now call climate change.
I’ve been following Laurie’s work for years, inspired by the audacity it took to put a powerful male icon on camera declaring that our lust for resources is destroying the planet. It changed everything. It woke people up. Like thousands of others, I found it excruciatingly painful to watch as feelings of unbearable despair set in. Melting ice caps, starving polar bears, tsunamis and landslides were our future. Luckily I was sitting next to my husband Danny who held my hand and told me to watch it all the way to the end.
Through tears and gut-wrenching distress, I resolved to heed Al Gore’s call that between denial and despair there is action. Laurie is the kind of person who wakes up every day very clear about her purpose—the harder she leans into the headwind the stronger she gets. Despite the magnitude of the subjects she tackles in her work today, her journey began as a manager of comedy talent, where she met her husband of 14 years: the comic genius Larry David (yes they were Laurie and Larry). After two kids, Seinfeld and the breakdown of her marriage, Laurie has spent her time campaigning and exposing many more inconvenient truths—from corporate greed to corruption and crime, she pursues the story that will make a difference.
Despite the weight of the world’s problems, Laurie insists that the solution “is not all on one person’s shoulders.” A few weeks after we speak I receive an exquisite book of poems in the mail by Peggy Freydberg, who started writing poetry when she was 90. Edited by Laurie, the collection is bursting with passion and longing, and I am reminded that while we must all do our bit and make our contribution to society and the planet, we must also carve out a life full of love, joy and beauty. Because at the end of the day, what are we fighting for?