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Al Gore wants to save your kids (and their planet)
Al Gore is the de facto president of the planet, at least with regard to its vanishing glaciers and drowning polar bears. Since the divisive 2000 election, Gore has hunkered down in his role as champion of the earth?s environment. Of course, with An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, he?s also returned to his place as top-selling author. Spurred by the success of the companion documentary and mounting concerns about global climate change, Gore?s book has been sitting at or near the top of bestseller lists since its release. But why should you be interested in the writings of this planetary crusader and harbinger of environmental doom?
Because he?s right.
You don?t even have to read An Inconvenient Truth to understand this. Just flip through its pages, examine its photographs, and explore its charts and diagrams. It is a beautiful, terrifying book?one so complete and well-documented that it is impossible to refute.
Before I write further, let me clarify: This review is not about politics. An Inconvenient Truth is about common sense; it?s about facts. It does not myopically see global warming as an American issue or a partisan concern. Gore presents this topic as a dire situation, backs up his argument with solid resources, and invites you (whatever your political affiliation) to do something about it.
Gore?s book is comprehensive and incredibly detailed. It?s the evolved version of the slide show that Gore has been sharing with the world for nearly two decades?a presentation that begat the movie documentary. Open the book and you?ll see what I mean: Hundreds of full-color photographs beg to be studied and compel you further inside. The idea of reading a white paper on global climate change isn?t appealing to most folks. But when Gore discusses the world?s disappearing glaciers, he shows them to you?where they used to be years ago compared to those same glacier-free or glacier-starved places today. It?s a stunning, see-for-yourself method of driving home the point. It is this unsettling, visual story that is keeping a book about global warming, of all things, a New York Times bestseller.
Melting glaciers are just the tip of the iceberg. An Inconvenient Truth is more than a photo album of gigantic ice cubes. You?ll also see photographs of global deforestation, increasing meteorological devastation, and much more?including those polar bears I mentioned, which face extinction by drowning because melting ice now forces them to attempt to swim sometimes 40 miles to shore. You?ll discover page after page of charts illustrating such things as rising ocean temperatures, the growing deserts of recent decades, and skyrocketing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. And then there?s the wordy stuff?facts succinctly stated and illustrated, with interesting and personal vignettes interspersed throughout. All of this information merges into a surprisingly readable and compelling trip around the world. It is National Geographic on steroids.
The proof is in the pictures?and the charts and the rest of it. Al Gore has assembled a remarkable, prescient book. It is a canary in the coal mine. But An Inconvenient Truth isn?t only about the proverbial little yellow birds we see and hear around us in this warming world. It is also about hope. After all, Gore?s motivation is to get the world to help itself, which means he?s trying to get you and me to pay attention and to take action. As a result, he saves the last 16 pages to illustrate everyday things we all can do in order to make a difference?in order to leave this planet in the sort of condition that will let our children and grandchildren survive and thrive.
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