Global Issues

On our reading list: Al Gore takes a look at The Future

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Al Gore: Averting the climate crisisAl Gore: Averting the climate crisis

Al Gore posits an intriguing question in his newest book, on shelves tomorrow, January 29: can we change the future? But this book isn’t about peering into a crystal ball.  In The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Gore — who’s spoken at TED multiple times — breaks down the factors that are changing our world at an unprecedented pace, leaving many of us feeling something akin to temporal whiplash. As Gore outlines, these forces are: ever-increasing economic globalization, the development of a “global mind” via instant communication, a global balance of power with multiple centers, an economic compass pointing toward unsustainable growth, Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisisAl Gore: New thinking on the climate crisisrevolutions in the field of genomics and biotech, and a disruption of the relationship between people and the earth’s ecosystems.

“What do you think about when you hear the phrase ‘the future?’ Is it a hopeful place? Is it a little scary? Does it seem like things are speeding up more than in the past?” Gore asks in a trailer for the book, above. “Well, they are. There are large forces that are shaping and reordering the world we’ve always known.”

Al Gore: What comes after An Inconvenient Truth?Al Gore: What comes after An Inconvenient Truth?

But he promises that the tome isn’t all doom and gloom.

“No matter where in the world we live, we face a choice—either to be swept along by the powerful currents of technological change and economic determinism into a future that may threaten our deepest values. Or shape the future in ways that protect human dignity and reflect the aspirations of people and nations throughout the world,” he says. “Mapping the future is a risky undertaking. Perhaps the only thing riskier is doing nothing.”