Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Review for An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore

Published in 2006, An Inconvenient Truth was written by Al Gore. The book is a slightly condensed version of Gore’s well known Powerpoint presentation. He teaches the reader about all the mishaps going on in the environmental world today, and also that not all is lost. Gore gives the reader hope for the future (if we act now) and gives the reader ideas which they can then put forth and make a change at a local to national or even international level. With the book’s setup of lots of pictures and short little blurbs makes it a very easy read for any level reader. The photos are what first grab your attention then the unbelievable but very true facts keep you snagged until the very end of the book.

To describe Al Gore, he is a very respectable man and is known by most of the population in North America. An article from the Washington Post dated October 3, 1999 tells us that "people looking at Vice President Gore today see a product of the American upper crust: a presidential contender born in Washington, reared in the top-floor suite of a hotel along Embassy Row, his father a senator, his mother trained in law, the high-achieving parents grooming him for political success at the finest private schools in the East" (Maraniss). This may make the man seem snooty or stuck-up, but he is quite the opposite of that. Al Gore has experience as a soldier, a congressman, a senator, a TV executive, a teacher, an author, and most notably the Vice President of the United States of America (Al). Despite his high-class upbringing, Gore has always dedicated himself to his passion for environmental awareness. The devotion Gore has demonstrated towards the environment proved itself when he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and was presented with an Academy Award for the film An Inconvenient Truth in February of 2007 (Pyke). These days, Al Gore’s Climate Project has joined forces with the David Suzuki Foundation to come up with Climate Project Canada. The two organizations are keeping separate, but are sharing ideas. CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation, Peter Robinson, said, “This is just the sort of partnership that makes each side stronger than it would be on its own” (Ali). Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Climate Project was created by Al Gore in 2006. It is a non for profit organization and their mission is to increase public awareness and action towards the climate crisis on Earth. Since its inception, the Project has trained more than 2500 volunteers worldwide to give local presentations on global warming. Gore is affecting change by lending a hand with his in-depth presentations, his books, his movie, and the Climate Project so the world can become more aware of what is really going on. The more people that are informed on the subject, the higher the chance is that they will then try to make a difference. Al Gore’s two websites teaching climate awareness, and, also help spread the word on global warming and what we can do to help.

Here is a video of a more recent presentation made by Al Gore. Click here. The video is called Al Gore warns on latest climate trends.

Moving on, An Inconvenient Truth is no typical read. It is not a book like a novel, but more like a teaching with pictures and graphs as aides. Very precisely, Al Gore gives solid evidence of global warming from out to sea to on land caused by humans. For example he says that a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that “major storms spinning in both the Atlantic and the Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent” (Gore 93). The author has the good habit of recording where he got his information from to prove he is a credible teacher of global warming. Gore’s points are easy to follow especially because all the visuals in the book back up his points with real data. Throughout An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore uses straight-to-the-point examples with genuine facts to support his position on the World’s climate crisis.

Although Gore explores many serious problems relevant to the state of the Earth's environment in his book, he ends things on a positive note giving tips on what we all "personally can do to help solve the climate crisis" (Gore 305). Tips such as “insulate your house” and “reduce standby power waste” mean “if you have your house properly insulated you will use less energy” and “unplug any appliances including televisions, computers, microwave ovens, radios, etc when they are not in use” respectively (Gore 307-309). An Inconvenient Truth is such a great book because it is not only something to read stuffed full of interesting and shocking facts, but it also a book that teaches you how to be more respectful towards the environment and how to reduce your own carbon footprint.

I suggest reading the book to anyone interested or anyone who has not yet read it because it is very informative on what is going on around the world today and will give you a view of the earth you had not seen before. Hopefully after reading this book, you will resolve to reduce your carbon emissions and be more environmentally friendly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Tips that help your wallet, and the planet..."

These are some useful tips for reducing your "ecological tireprint" I found on the website.

Drive Efficiently

-Slow down and save (For every 10km/h over 100km/h fuel efficiency drops by 10%.)

-Easy on the pedal (Jackrabbit starts from one set of lights to the next increases fuel consumption by 37%)

-Smooth sailing (Keeping a steady speed uses less fuel. Accellerate smoothly and avoid hard breaking.)

-Be idle free (10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine.)

-Combine trips (Combining several trips into 1 [like trips to the grocery store, etc.] can cut fuel use and emissions from 20-50%.)

-Travel light (Every additional 100 lbs. increases fuel consumption by 2%.)

-Use a fuel consumption display (You can keep track of instantaneously how many litres per hundred kilometres you are using. If you can adjust your habits, you could reduce consumption by 10%.)

Maintain and Save

-Tire pressure (one under-inflated tire can increase fuel consumption by 4% and reduce the life of the tire by 15 000 km.

-Motor oil (Using worn out oil can increase fuel consumption by 4%.)

-Air Filter (Fuel use can increase by 10% if air filter is clogged.)

-Tune ups (Keeping your car in tune can reduce consumption by up to 15%.)

Drive Less

-Carpool (It saves you money and reduces pollution.)

-Let someone else do the driving (Take transit, you can relax on the way to work and it's cheaper than taking a car.)

-Get active (Choose to bike or walk instead of drive!)

-Telecommute (Work from home - save the drive.)

More tips are available at It is worth it to take a look! These tips are not only pretty easy, but they'll save you money and cut emissions at the same time. Take it upon yourselves.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going green isn't that hard!

I found an inspiring little video on and it's not very long! So I think anyone reading my blog should watch it. Going green isn't that hard. Click here!

You Can Save The Earth

Everyday I see litter and I see people polluting. Just last week when I took my dog for a walk at the boardwalk in Collingwood, there was a lady in her car with it running when I arrived. I took my dog all around the boardwalk and through the park and when I got back to my car the lady was still in her car with it running! I couldn't believe it. I really wish I had said something to her like, "You know, Collingwood is an idle-free community," but I just couldn't muster up the courage to knock on her window. This was about a week ago and I'm still kicking myself for it. Too often on my walks I come across garbage and feel that I must pick it up, so most of the time I do. And if I pass a piece of garbage without picking it up I will feel guilty for the rest of the day as if I were the one who originally littered. This is how I felt about the lady in her car. I know it was not my fault that she was sitting there idling, but I feel guilty because I did not do my part to tell her to shut off her car. She must have been there for at least half an hour.

This is the year 2009! We have known of our pollution crisis for many, many years, so it just boggles my mind when I see people deliberately littering or purposely not shutting off their car. Yesterday, when I was at school another student dropped his pop can outside in the parking lot and stomped on it. I said to him, "I hope you're going to pick that up and recycle it." Unbelievably, he just looked at me as though I was less than him for even thinking that and just said something like, "Yeah right. I'm not picking up garbage." Attitudes like his are not going to save this planet. A friend I was with picked up the can and I recycled it. At least not everyone thinks the same way as him. It is very hard to get across to those types of people, but I have done it. Just by repeatedly recycling when possible, or throwing garbage in the trash, people start to do as I do. They can see that it is not hard and just takes a tiny little bit of effort and it eventually pays off. Parks start to look cleaner and more beautiful. Roads, as ugly as they may be, look a lot better when they are not edged with garbage.

I urge everyone - PLEASE do your part by not littering. And if you feel like doing something even more positive, all you have to do is if you see garbage on the ground, pick it up. It is as simple as that, and every little bit of effort helps.

Isn't this Earth beautiful? We can all do our part to keep it this way. =)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Everything is connected

I believe that everything on Earth is connected. What affects one person/animal/plant will affect another.
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. Ties into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Climate change can affect human health directly (e.g., impacts of thermal stress, death/injury in floods and storms) and indirectly through changes in the ranges of disease vectors (e.g., mosquitoes), water-borne pathogens, water quality, air quality, and food availability and quality."
- World Health Organization
I have an example of how some peoples' actions can affect others' quality of life. In my book You Can Save the Earth: 7 Reasons Why & 7 Simple Ways published by Hatherleigh it says, "In the United States, 6 billion pounds of phosphorous and nitrogen fertilizers from Midwestern farms leach into the Mississippi and its tributaries every year, causing massive algae blooms. Bacteria consume the algae, depleting the oxygen in the water and literally suffocating all marine life. Then, this toxic soup flows down to the mouth of the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it has created a "dead zone" that now measures almost 7500 square miles, an are nearly the size of New Jersey. American farm runoff has become an international environmental hazard." Knowing this kind of information really disturbs me. This situation is very overwhelming to think about, so to help myself and the environment step-by-step I can keep spreading my word and do what I can to minimize my carbon foot print.
"Soil is a resource, a living, breathing entity that, if treated properly, will maintain itself. It's our lifeline for survival. When it has finally depleted, the human population will disappear."
-Marjorie Harris

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Media English

I wasn't very clear on my first blog what I really meant about my "message." I am in a grade 11 class in Collingwood, On called Media English. The course teaches understanding of how we interpret media, how the media want us to interpret their message, and how to determine the hidden messages beneath just what we see. Media includes all forms of text, such as books, magazine articles, magazine ads, and even this blog. Other media includes music videos, TV shows, movies, television commercials, news reports, newspapers, billboards, radio, and the list goes on and on.
I want my message to be very simple. And I do not want it to be a hidden underlying meaning that you have to search for. I want my message to be easy for everyone to understand, although it may take some convincing.
I believe that You Can Save The Earth. It all starts with one little person. Myself, all on my own, have taught friends to throw their garbage in the trash can, or (an easy one) put recyclables in recycling bins, and to use that Green Bin that we have all been provided with! It is easy to make these changes and the sooner you start the bigger difference you will make. I have a magazine, a National Geographic Green Guide issue from Winter 2009, which has an article called "Green Myths" by Paul McRandle and Mary Logan Barmeyer. One myth that many people believe (that I just can't understand that they'd believe it) is that "Recycling wastes more energy than it saves." Some may say that "More energy is used to send out recycling trucks all over the county just to pick up cans and bottles and plastic containers than is used to dispose of these items." Of course, this is false. According to a 2004 study published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, overall, the energy consumed to develop new products from raw materials is at least 10 times more than the energy used by recycling collection, the actual recycling, and the transportation of the recycled goods to retailers.
So, please recycle what can be recycled and we can all help, one by one, to clean up the earth.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What is my message?

This is my first blog. I have many message ideas, all related to one main theme - the environment.

These are my ideas so far:
  • Be environmentally friendly. (this ties into all my message ideas)
  • Do not litter.
  • We can stop pollution!
  • You can save the earth.
  • Everything is connected
  • Appreciate and respect nature.
  • Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. We all concentrate on recycling. What about reusing and reducing?