December 2009

The choice is ours to save the earth

By Al Gore
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In Our Choice, Al Gore concedes that solving the earth’s climate crisis is not going to be easy, but it can be done. “If people think the problem is hopeless, they will just give up,” he writes. “The danger is real, but we can still stop the worst effects of the climate crisis—if we act now.”

Adapted from Gore’s adult book of the same title, this Young Readers Edition of Our Choice is a perfect introduction to the climate crisis for children, tweens and teens. Full of bright diagrams, photos and bullet-pointed lists—and printed on 100% recycled paper—the book explains in detail exactly how we can act to save the planet. Some of the solutions are simple: the United States generates 14% of its electricity through lighting, and new light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs could have an enormous positive impact on our carbon footprint. Other solutions are more complicated: the United States’ electricity should be powered by a “smart” grid that uses solar, wind and geothermal power sources—a major undertaking.

One of the world’s foremost environmental advocates and the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Gore employs hard facts and statistics to make his argument for a greener planet. For example, scientists believe that the earth’s population will eventually stabilize at 9.1 billion people. “The planet should be able to support that many people,” Gore writes, “if we change the way we live by cutting global warming pollution and by learning to consume a little less.

The recommended reader age for Our Choice is 8-14, but even older kids and parents will learn from the facts and suggestions within the book. Although some of the sections about energy and fuel sources might be too detailed for younger children to understand, main points are highlighted in colored boxes and colored fonts for easier comprehension. Readers who are inspired to action are directed to the Inconvenient Youth website ( to learn how to advocate for the environment in communities and schools.

Although Our Choice contains many grim facts about humans’ exploitation of the earth, it is ultimately a hopeful book. In his conclusion, Gore predicts that young people will lead the way in stopping the climate crisis. To do so, they must start immediately.

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