There came a point last year when it was becoming embarrassing to me that I had neither seen the movie nor the read the book An Inconvenient Truth by our greatest living President, Al Gore. I decided to pick up the book (I still haven’t seen the movie).
I had read Al Gore’s previous book on environmental matters, The Earth in the Balance, when I was in college. EitB was well thought out, comprehensive, intelligent, and really, really dry. It was a book about creating a national environmental policy and making intelligent choices. It was supposed to be dry and scholarly. This time around, Gore focuses on only one environmental challenge, global climate change, and brings a focused and engaging approach to the subject. It works.
An Inconvenient Truth, the book, tells its story simply and with a visceral kick. There is no arguing with the images presented here. Gore addresses the skeptics and does a convincing job of dismantling their arguements (unless your name is Frosty and you are immune to logic). The book is a masterpiece on the presentation of difficult scientific material. It will be taught in classes about information design. Seriously.
The books focuses so strongly on explaining the problem that it does not go very deeply into what we, as individuals, need to do to change our situation. I don’t see that as a shortcoming. Getting us to agree that there is a problem is the first step of any good twelve step program. And contrary to what Frosty has told his wife, the book does not have a “bad America, bad America” message. Let’s hope that the Frostys and Senator Inhofes open their eyes soon. Some of the world’s largest corporations (General Electric among them) have begun to call for action. Bush is even rumored to be getting on board with the program. I’ll believe that when I see it.
If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I can highly recommend the book (I’ll work on seeing the movie).