Environmental Lovefest on 'Today'

It was a Greenie love fest on this morning's Today. First Today show viewers were treated to Al Gore wishing Katie a fond farewell, video which featured an early 1990s clip of Couric actually giving him dance lessons in the White House. Then at the end of the show Ann Curry promoted Sting’s annual rainforest concert with his wife Trudie Styler, complete with this promotion of global warming: "To also remind people, I mean, most scientists really agree that if we don't protect this band of rainforest in the middle part of, lower middle part of the Earth that we will, could affect the environment in a dramatic way. Some now, there's a lot more debate now today about climate change and more concern about the environment. You've seen this go up and down, the interest and the political wave of it. Where are we now and how hopeful are you that people will be able to talk about this, do something about?"

Video clip of Gore's goodbye to Couric (30 seconds): Real (950 KB) or Windows Media (1.1 MB), plus MP3 audio (150 KB)

The following are the full excerpts from Today. First the Al Gore farewell at 8:00am:

Al Gore, fresh off his most recent NBC appearance: "Katie congratulations on the fantastic job that you've done on the Today show and good luck in your new gig. It's gonna be fantastic and I'm proud of ya. And I wanted to say other than my wife Tipper I've never danced with anyone else in the West Wing of the White House except you. I've always enjoyed talking with ya and I really appreciate what you do and the way you do it."]

[Clip of Katie dancing with Al Gore in the White House in the early 1990s]

Matt Lauer from Paris: "Katie, you know the Vice, former Vice President Al Gore had me a little nervous there when he was going, 'other than my wife Tipper,' I didn't know where he was going with that."

Al Roker: "Yikes!"

Couric: "Yes he meant dancing. You know he was a notoriously or is a notoriously bad dancer and so I was trying, trying to teach him some moves during a commercial break and I guess someone caught that on camera."

...

Then at 9:49 am Ann Curry and Trudie Styler chatted with each other like they were old gal pals:

Ann Curry: "It's curtains up in New York City this week as some big names in the entertainment industry take to stage for a worthy cause. Since 1991 the Rainforest Foundation Funds Benefit Concert has been drawing an A-list number of celebrities to raise money for various projects and behind it all are the Foundation's founders the legendary rock singer Sting and his legendary wife Trudie Styler who's also the concert's producer. Trudie, good morning. Pleasure to see you. You just told me just before we started going live here that your, this organization since you started it in 1989 along with your husband Sting has raised $21 million. Phenomenal. How does that feel and how does it feel seeing what good it's done?"

Trudie Styler: "Well it feels, it's, it's a good number. It will be raised, nice to raise another $21 million because it's, it's very well-used. And as you see here there's a lot of people who are struggling with their lives and struggling with their environment. They need protection, they need our support so it's an ongoing cause."

Curry: "We're looking at a photo that you actually pointed out to me earlier that you are specifically touched by because you first met this group of people when?"

Styler: "This group? I met them wake back in 1990. I was pregnant with our now 15-year-old daughter and I journeyed up to the northern state of Rorima [sp] to see the Yanamami [sp] people and they were really struggling with a lot of difficulties with loggers, illegal loggers who were taking down their trees, raping and destroying the rainforest, poisoning their rivers, putting mercury into it. We were seeing a lot of women who were pregnant when they delivered that their, that their babies were malformed. And we decided that we would make this a real passion project and it was a passion project for me."

Curry: "What have you done?"

Styler: "And we, and last year we managed to, to ratify the land which means that it belongs to the indigenous perpetuity. An area the size of Hawaii."

Curry: "Which is to say that it's protected..."

Styler: "That is absolutely..."

Curry: "Which allows to people to continue to live there?"

Styler: "It was a long, long process. And for a group that we, it was a 30 year process and we've been involved in it for 15 years and then we took on all the legal costs for the last five years."

Curry: "To also remind people, I mean, most scientists really agree that if we don't protect this band of rainforest in the middle part of, lower middle part of the Earth that we will, could affect the environment in a dramatic way. Some now, there's a lot more debate now today about climate change and more concern about the environment. You've seen this go up and down, the interest and the political wave of it. Where are we now and how hopeful are you that people will be able to talk about this, do something about?"

Styler: "Well I think we finally realized that global warming is a reality. Yesterday I read a paper about allergies and hay fevers. They are getting progressively worse. People are reacting more harshly now because of global warming. Stuff like that, that we'll see far more of. Climate change, the hurricanes. Of course it comes home to roost. You can't think that what we do in the remotest parts of the world and the treatment that these people get will not come home to roost on a karmic level. But on a climate level we're certainly seeing it happen."

Curry: "And to the end of doing something about this problem that you see you have been organizing these concerts and you've got an amazing. You've had an amazing list of people willing to come out and perform including your husband but also this year you've got a pretty dynamic list as well including, I imagine him as well."

Styler: "Including him.."

Curry: "He doesn't have much of a choice does he?"

Styler: "Where would we be without him? No, there's gonna be Sting and James Taylor and the great Lenny Kravitz is going to join us and, and Sheryl, Sheryl Crow is coming and Will Ferrell to make everybody laugh."

Curry: "Oh well that'll be..."

Styler: "And we're doing a Woodstock theme."

Curry: "Oh! Now what exactly does the mean? You're gonna sing 60s music or you gonna be dressing in a..."

Styler: "Both. We're gonna be singing songs from '68."

Curry: "Not wallowing in the mud or anything? Just..."

Styler: "No that'll come later. The after party."

Curry: "Oh please give me an invitation to that one."

Styler: "Sure!"

Curry: "But no, but so, but the whole idea is to celebrate the feeling in the Woodstock of that time."

Styler: "Yes it's a couple of reasons. First of all. Great music and, and it was a time of great activism..."

Curry: "Alright Trudie Styler."

Styler: "Make love, not war."

Curry: "Okay. Trudie Styler thanks so much. And if you'd like to learn more about the Rainforest Foundation and the concert you can visit our Web site."

It should be noted this isn't the first time Ann promoted Sting's Concert. Check out this transcript from the April 21, 2004 Today show:

Ann Curry: "Maybe Sting was talking about his delightful wife Trudie when he sang, 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.' Trudie Styler may be best known for her storybook marriage to a pop star but Styler is accomplished. She's an actress, a film producer, a fundraiser and a mother of four. And tonight she's brought a lot of her friends and her husband's friends from music world to the 12th Annual Rainforest Foundation Benefit Concert at New York's Carnegie Hall. Trudie Styler, a pleasure, good morning."

[Trudie Styler]

Curry: "Thank you. Since 1988 when you co-founded The Rainforest Foundation which is having tonight's benefit you have raised, helped raise $19 million. You've saved millions of acres of the rainforest and yet this morning there is still a fire burning within you because the first thing you said when I sat down with you was, oh my gosh you had horrible news when it comes to the rainforest."

[Styler: "Yeah the horrible news is that within the next few weeks we'll see on satellite reports that in the last two years that the rainforest in the Amazon is burning at an all-time high. We've lost, in two year, 25,000 square kilometers. That's an area the size of Vermont. And it's being burnt down and cattle are being brought on for a rising demand for, to the beef industry in America and in Europe."]

Curry: "You know anyone who goes to, to the rainforest, I went there last year, you know is disc-, has a hard time not being discouraged because you find out how quickly it's disappearing. What causes you to not be discouraged, to keep fighting. I mean really someone who's raised $19 million can afford to stay home and knit, you know, or do more yoga as in your case, you know, but you don't. You keep doing this year after year after year."

[Styler: "Right it gives me a fire in my belly and I, you know I'm a mother I want to leave this great legacy for my children. You know we're burning down a pharmacy, the pharmacy that we know already have, have given cures to childhood leukemia, for cancers even. It's a pharmacy and a library."]

Curry: "It's been a source of, of major drugs for pharmaceutical companies and for people. Your benefit is called the biggest environmental fundraiser event in the world. And we got a behind the scenes look a few years ago. We've got some tape of that. You know Elton John says it is because of you, Trudie Styler, because of you that the caliber of talent keeps coming back year after year. That's a huge tribute to you and this fire in your belly."

[Styler: "That's very kind."]

Curry: "No! But it's true that's what he says about you. And this year you lined up not just Elton and Sting of course but also, and also James Taylor and Billy Joel, but also some new people. People who have not come before as I understand. Bette Midler."

[Styler]

Curry: "And she's coming to sing?"

[Styler]

Curry: "And also Michael J. Fox to perform. To sing?"

[Styler]

Curry: "And you do all of this rehearsing for, now is this right, for one day? You, you produce this event."

[Styler: "Well we, we rehearsed all day yesterday and it'll be all day today and that's a tribute to them. I mean what, what I'd really like to say about those people there, there far more than just artists with great singing voices and great acting talent. They've all become activists because there's a, there's a need to. Elton John, the Elton John AIDS Foundation; Bette Midler and the Restoration of New York Fund; James Taylor works tirelessly for River Keepers for you know, God knows what else. There's an endless list with James. Michael J. Fox, the Parkinson's disease, they, they need to. Antonio [Banderas] works for UNICEF."

Curry: "So you are basically saying there's an intersect of all of these artists, people who understand that you come to this world not just bringing your talents but also your conscience and you're supposed to do something about that."

[Styler: "Well I think we're doing government work, frankly. Yeah."]

Curry: "What the government should be doing is what you're saying?"

[Styler: "Yes that's what I'm saying. Government works with corporations and we're, we've become activists because there's an urgent need to."]

Curry: "At the same time to promote your cause sometimes you say things I'm not sure why you say. For example you went on and spoke to Howard and you spoke to him, Howard Stern we're talking about, about your sex life. Now what did you tell him?"

[Styler]

Curry: "A little?"

[Styler]

Curry: "You talked about your proclivities to have amorous relationships with animals, girls, boys. I mean why do you say this stuff?! You've got four grown children! I mean well not grown but some of them are teenagers."

[Styler]

Curry: "I don't know. Yeah but I also read in you this kind of sense, this sort of, you care less for what people think of you and maybe a bit more about doing good with your life. And that, that seems to be kind of the opposite of how a lot of people think and people care so much about not saying the wrong thing but you've got this freedom about it if it's driven by the right thing."

[Styler]

Curry: "Maybe."

[Styler]

Curry: "Alright. Okay so we now know that was all made up and, and so good night, good luck for this thing you've got tonight. And I, I'd just like to say thank you for doing all that you're doing to save the world's resources. I think all of us owe you a debt of gratitude. Carry on and good luck tonight on the big event."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.