An Inconvenient Truth
By Al Gore
Review by Philomena (Earth Sciences)
I came across this book of slideshows of facts on climate change by the former US Vice President just before going into my GCSEs. It really shocked me and arose in me an interest in Earth Sciences, which is the subject I am doing now. It also made me think seriously for the first time how human beings have changed the world. The book attracted me in the first place because it has a lot of colourful pictures, but it is much more than that.
You may think that climate change is such a broad and profound subject that only serious scientists know about it, but the book displayed many plain sciences in very simple graphs and pictures. One of the most striking images is a few satellite images of the same place, taken a few years apart, showing clearly how all the trees in the area were cut to make place for buildings. There is also a curve showing atmospheric CO2 content collected from Antarctica ice cores, as air bubbles trapped in the snow can be preserved and tell us the composition of air going back many thousands of years. With the help of all these scientific and mathematical analyses, we know that the atmospheric CO2 content had been fairly stable until recently when it started to go crazy, and how clearly this is linked to human activities.
The book also taught me that climate change is not only about sciences. Despite being the US Vice President and having all the facts, Al Gore found it very difficult to persuade people, especially politicians (even his colleagues in US government) to face the inconvenient truth. I remember reading about the Kyoto Protocol (believe or not, it waited 9 years to be put into effect!) and all the arguments and debates about it. When I finished this book, I asked myself: why is it so difficult to solve a problem that’s so obvious? If the Earth’s average temperature continues to rise there would be no future for us all!
Global awareness on climate change has improved a lot, partially thank to this book, and there is much current research on this topic. Every time I read something in the news about climate change and how the government and individuals are dealing with it, I refer back to An Inconvenient Truth, and add some new answers to my questions.
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.