Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. New York: Rodale, 2006. 325p. ISBN: 978-1-594-86567-1.
ALSC Notable Book
Gore’s book, a companion to his documentary by the same name, forces readers to face the inconvenient truths regarding our climate crisis. It calls for change, recognizing that without action this planetary emergency will only worsen.
Though an intimidating 325 pages, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore is a fairly quick read. It outlines the planetary emergency that is human-caused global warming and the opportunities that he says come with it. For example, “we can build clean engines, we can harness the Sun and the wind; we can stop wasting energy, we can use our planet’s plentiful coal resources without heating the planet” (Gore, 2006, p.11). These suggestions are representative of the underlying hopefulness that I appreciated in Gore’s book. Though he strongly stresses the severity of our climate crisis, Gore rallies hopefully for a generational mission. His passion for protecting the planet and his confidence in our ability to make positive changes are inspiring. This approach makes the book appropriate for young adult readers. Rather than declaring that it’s too late, that all hope is lost, Gore gives young people a reason to act.
The book is punctuated with large, full-color pictures and graphics featuring inconvenient truths regarding the global warming crisis. An example of this is a before and after shot of Glacier National Park, or as the book calls it “the park formerly known as Glacier” (Gore, 2006, p.46). While the before shot (from 1932) shows a massive, snowy-white glacier, in the after shot (from 1988) there is nothing there. Another image included in the book is that of a high tide in Funafuti, Tuvalu, Polynesia. The picture shows the high tide overtaking the home of a Polynesian family. Images such as these provide real-life examples of the effect global warming has had not only on our planet, but on human life as well. Further, they make the book easier to digest for younger readers. Acting almost as bullet points, the pictures and graphics included in An Inconvenient Truth tell the story of a planetary emergency without allowing it to become overwhelming or heavy with facts and scientific jargon.
Bibliography, title page, dedication page