Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
In his book Al Gore describes huge environmental problems that humanity is facing now. In addition, he describes his family and the conditions in which he was growing up. Surprisingly, I found a lot of similarities in the latter part with a way in which a typical Soviet family was grown:
For eight months each year, my family’s home was a small apartment in Fairfax Hotel. My sister, my mother, my father, and I all shared the single bathroom that connected my parents’ bedroom to the bedroom I shared with Nancy
I am wondering now if Gores were suspected in connections with Soviets. Why were they given such a small apartment otherwise?
However, during the summer Gores were living on a countryside. This is also very similar to the Soviet way of life: everybody was trying to escape from a city to a village where their grandparents were living during the summer. Al Gore explains why he became so interested in nature issues:
Had I grown up entirely on the farm, I think I might well have taken nature much more for granted. But being deprived of it at the end of each summer allowed me to know it by its absence and to better appreciate its incompatible grace. Had I grown up entirely in big city, I might never have known what I was missing
When I was a student in the US I was often told that Russian people are too ambitious – they either do nothing or try to send a man to the outer space. I guess the reasons behind the willingness to tackle global problems is this inner happiness that is developed over the years. Only when you can appreciate the beauty do you want to achieve a high goal. And appreciation is developed through exposure to drastically different conditions.
So I think Albert might have found lots of like-minded people among ordinary Russians.
The book is very nicely written. I guess if you want to deliver the message to a large audience you have to take a lot of care of how you present it. Gore does an excellent job in attracting the reader attention with large photographs and large fonts. He uses different types of information such as diagrams, graphs, maps in his book. Often, he has before and after comparisons that make it very clear that global changes are taking place indeed.
I was surprised to find out that there was another global problem that was solved – the problem of ozone holes. When I was in school I often heard that ozone holes pose a danger to the humanity. Then I became a student and I started learning different things rather than ozone holes. After I graduated and started working full-time I discovered Al Gore’s book on environmental problems. Honestly, I thought that this was a book on ozone holes! I was so used to the thought that real progress is happening only in computer science that I was very surprised when I found out that governments have signed Montreal Protocol to address the problem of ozone holes! Since 1987 the levels of the chlorofluorocarbons have declined.
I guess it is possible to solve the problem of global warming as well given the effort that governments make in this direction. But it is very obvious now that global changes are taking place. Here is the temperature today in three different places: it is -5C in Dzerzhinsk, 300 miles east of Moscow, Russia. It is -10C in Saint James, New York, a place where snow is seen only a couple of days during a year. It is 0C in Tampere, a city in Finland which has polar nights and freezing temperatures in general. Things got mixed up.
A follow-up: here is a video that describes plans on saving Netherlands which territory is beneath sea-level, at least a big part of it: