Nobel (News - Alert) laureate and former U.S. Vice president Al Gore is bringing his climate crisis campaign to the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. On April 28, Gore unveiled the digital iOS version of his 2009 print bestseller, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.
The interactive, visually breathtaking app exploits a groundbreaking digital publishing platform from a San Francisco-based startup called Push Pop Press—which collaborated on the project with Our Choice publisher, RODALEbooks of Emmaus, Pennsylvania; and digital media producer Melcher Media, based in New York City.
Readers can navigate the book's 19 chapters by swiping with their fingers. The app includes 250 full-screen images, infographics, and animations—some of which fold or unfold on the page when you pinch or spread your fingers. To find out where a particular picture was shot, the reader only needs to tap on an image to summon an interactive map that displays its geotagged location. To see how the world population is growing, the reader slides a finger across a graph.
And it gets even more avant-garde: Spinning an onscreen graphic dial animates the various ways in which a passive solar home stays warm in winter and cool in summer. In a chapter on “Harvesting the Wind,” the reader can blow into the iPad's microphone to generate wind on an interactive windmill.
An hour of documentary footage is also included, showing, for example, 1930s film of the Dust Bowl that plagued the American Great Plains and BBC's coverage of the deadly 1952 London Fog. Throughout the app, Gore lends his voice to audio commentary.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Gore said that the intuitive features and the exciting visuals, are “incredibly important,” explaining, “Many years ago one of the principal reasons why I shifted from giving speeches to presenting slide shows, some with animations, was precisely because the subject matter is difficult, new, challenging and yet it's incredibly important to communicate the subject matter. So an app may become the queen of media in the sense that it's so immersive. It combines what we used to think of as books, movies, audio, animation, graphics, and makes them interactive. There is nothing between you and the app. There is no computer hurdle to clear. All you need is your fingers.”
Gore is a member of the Board of Directors of Apple (News - Alert), based in Cupertino, California, but he said, “I did not pull any strings, let me put it that way. First contacts were through the normal channels that I had nothing to do with. This didn't come top-down through Apple at all.”
Since the publication of the 2006 New York Times bestseller An Inconvenient Truth and the release of the Academy Award–winning film of the same title, Gore has led more than 30 “Solutions Summits” with top scientists, engineers, and policy experts to examine every way of counteracting the climate crisis in depth and detail. Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis draws on conclusions developed through those summits as well as on extensive independent research, describing how the bold choices necessary to save the earth’s climate should also be the foundations of policies worldwide to create new jobs and stimulate sustainable economic progress.
In an official statement, Push Pop Press commented, “[The] Our Choice [app]will change the way we read books. And quite possibly change the world.”
The app is now available in Apple's App Store for the iPad, iPhone (News - Alert) or iPod Touch at an introductory promo price of $4.99. Gore is donating all his profits to the Alliance for Climate Protection. You can watch a trailer of the app here.
Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell