An Inconvenient Truth
Written by: Al Gore
Published By: Rodale Books
Reviewed by Dorothy Doremus
Understanding global warming can be quite the daunting task. I mean, who knows what to believe anymore. There are scientists pulling us in both directions. The President’s advisers tell us that global warming is not occurring, while the scientists of the world are saying we are destroying the planet. With all of these conflicting tales, who knows or understands what is going on with the Earth. All I know for sure is that if there is one man passionate about the planet and its survival, it’s Al Gore.
President Gore, oh my mistake, Former Vice President Gore, brings his hit slide show to the silver screen and to the pages of this wonderful book that gives clear examples of what is happening to the planet as we speak. According to the book, there are several reasons for what is happening to the planet, the major culprit being greenhouse gases, which are created when we burn fossil fuels. Fossil fuels account for somewhere around 80% of greenhouse gases and they deplete the ozone layer, which heats the atmosphere.
The pictures and charts in the book are easy to follow. There are many before and after shots. Mountain ranges that had snow caps only thirty years ago currently have none. The images are very powerful. Once pristine vacation destinations for skiing and hiking, these wonders are vanishing before our eyes. The charts were fascinating and a great visual guide to the photos. The charts show everything from the temperature of the earth to the trend of droughts. The data was complied by various sources, including our own military so I am convinced of its validity.
Gore also included in the book personal memoirs of his time on the farm in Tennessee and how it was to grow up loving that environment. He shares stories of his son’s tragic accident and the death of his loving sister, which made him reflect on the more important things in life. Mr. Gore tackles this tough task with a heavy heart and some humor.
The book implicates public enemy number one, the energy industry, as being the biggest culprits in contributing to global warming. In the world we are the largest contributor to global warming. We Americans, account for 30% of all the greenhouse gases. I tend to agree, since just today the Senate opened up some of Alaska’s protected land to oil drillers to curb our dependence on foreign oil. If we are serious about reducing our demand on oil, then why not invest in alternative energy and not use the same old techniques. Oh that’s right, the White House is still saying there is no global warming.
In the last section of the book, it tells us what we can do to save our planet. If the government is going to stay in denial, why should the rest of us. The ideas range from purchasing a hybrid car to recycling. You would be interested to know as well that the book has a list of cities that have taken the liberty of following the Kyoto Treaty - the one the government won’t sign - as well as a list of world renowned scientists who say global warming is a real threat to the Earth.
I would say this book was a very enjoyable read. It certainly is a quick read, as it mimics the slide show format, the print is large and the information is short and to the point. In a recent interview with “Entertainment Weekly”, Mr. Gore speaks about how he never thought that Hollywood would make his slide show a hit film, let alone a best selling book. I would say it was a hit with me. If you are interested in what is happening to the planet and what you can do to help stop the damage that has already occurred, pick up this book. It is a must read.