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Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

Field Notes from a Catastrophe Man Nature and Climate Change An argument for the urgent danger of global warming in a book that is sure to be as influential as Rachel Carson s Silent Spring Known for her insightful and thought provoking journalism New Yorker w

An argument for the urgent danger of global warming in a book that is sure to be as influential as Rachel Carson s Silent Spring.Known for her insightful and thought provoking journalism, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial subject of global warming Americans have been warned since the late nineteen seventies that the buildup of carbon dioxidAn argument for the urgent danger of global warming in a book that is sure to be as influential as Rachel Carson s Silent Spring.Known for her insightful and thought provoking journalism, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial subject of global warming Americans have been warned since the late nineteen seventies that the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere threatens to melt the polar ice sheets and irreversibly change our climate With little done since then to alter this dangerous course, now is the moment to salvage our future By the end of the century, the world will likely be hotter than it s been in the last two million years, and the sweeping consequences of this change will determine the future of life on earth for generations to come.In writing that is both clear and unbiased, Kolbert approaches this monumental problem from every angle She travels to the Arctic, interviews researchers and environmentalists, explains the science and the studies, draws frightening parallels to lost ancient civilizations, unpacks the politics, and presents the personal tales of those who are being affected most the people who make their homes near the poles and, in an eerie foreshadowing, are watching their worlds disappear Growing out of a groundbreaking three part series for the New Yorker, Field Notes from a Catastrophe brings the environment into the consciousness of the Americ

  • Unlimited Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change - by Elizabeth Kolbert
    134 Elizabeth Kolbert

About Author

  1. Elizabeth Kolbert says:
    Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe Man, Nature, and Climate Change and The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

Comment 928 on “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

  1. Ted says:
    Elizabeth Kolbert was, still is I think, the main environmental writer for The New Yorker, though she writes of other things too, nowadays This book was one of the first books I read on climate change, and is particularly convincing as it is based on actually observing what was going on in the Arctic, not on climate models, theoretical projections, or any such things as these though I imagine that some of this stuff is mentioned in the book, I don t recall.Kolbert is a fine writer, and although [...]

  2. Darlene says:
    This book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe Man, Nature and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert grew out of a three part series she wrote for the New Yorker In this slim volume, Elizabeth Kolbert methodically explains the science of climate change and the warming temperatures of the earth I think one of the most startling aspects of this book, for me, was learning that the study of climate change as it relates to the burning of fossil fuels actually dates back to the 19th century This isn t new Ms [...]

  3. Kenneth says:
    This was hard science than rhetoric which was welcome Kolbert lays out the argument convincingly and compellingly Because she is not daunted by the science, the argument comes across measured and deliberate maybe even a bit understated at times making it all the effective For anyone still harboring doubts about global warming, I d like to think this book may well challenge their current thought processes.Kolbert takes us on a voyage across Iceland and Greenland, glaciers in Alaska and tempera [...]

  4. Jamie says:
    It s impressive how well Kolbert avoids doom and gloom Neither does she understate the issue She navigates the polemic that s been made false polemic , debunks the myths, observes from ground zero, outlines plans of action It s an excellent primer, well researched and grounded But ultimately, yeah this was written ten years ago and we re still not paying attention Soon what happens next won t be up to us.

  5. David Tranvik says:
    It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing This quote demonstrates the overwhelming message that Kolbert is trying to convey in writing this book She urges people to recognize the growing changes that are occurring on our planet and the need to address issue before for it is to late Kolbert s book provides unique facts and observation that allow her to come to the concl [...]

  6. Noah says:
    This book seems poorly proportioned It spends too many pages shoring up the existence of anthropogenic climate change and not enough time talking about the implications Anyone open to the scientific premise isn t going to need 100 pages of proof before getting into the interesting part Between assessments of the present and forecasts for the future, Kolbert also never pauses to explain exactly why this is a problem I m not a climate change skeptic by any means, but my biggest frustration is peop [...]

  7. Dorothy says:
    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor And How I Got LickedThat famous quote from Upton Sinclair seems highly appropriate to any discussion of climate change in this country Entrenched, very powerful economic interests control our political system and, to a great extent, our media, and those interests are determined that business as usual shall prevail in the production and distribution o [...]

  8. Alicia says:
    Field Notes From A Catastrophe is an interesting book that calmly lays out the evidence to support the fact that the earth is now the warmest it has been in the past 420,000 years She then goes on to talk about differing scientists viewpoints of what this might mean At the core, all of the important scientists in the field agree that the warming means that the planet is on the edge of a major climate change The main point of contention seems to be the time frame in which that will happen and how [...]

  9. Mark Stevens says:
    Elizabeth Kolbert s Field Notes From a Catastrophe is than ten years old I read the 2006 edition but don t let that dissuade you from reading this brisk, concise overview of climate change and all the reasons we should be worried Very worried Kolbert zooms in and zooms out, from details to big picture analysis She visits the Alaskan village of Shismaref five miles off the coast of the Seward Peninsula She heads to Swiss Camp, a research station on a platform drilled into the Greenland ice sheet [...]

  10. Women's National Book Association of New Orleans says:
    The Women s National Book Association sent this book to the White House today March 9 in honor of Women s History Month wnba centennial book From the Women s National Book Association s press release In Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert documents her travels around the world to sites already affected by man made climate change, including Alaska, the Arctic, Greenland, and the Netherlands Kolbert not only witnesses rising sea levels, altered patterns of migration, thawing permafro [...]

  11. Stacy Lewis says:
    Written before The Sixth Extinction, this book is very similar in topic but limited in scope Having finished it, I think I should send it to the president But there are very few pictures and lots of big words.

  12. Peter says:
    To cite a well worn phrase, this is a must read to gain an insight and understanding of climate change The updated and revised edition


  13. Jake says:
    Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert, studies the evidence for global warming and the consequences of global warming She argues that global warming exists by looking at current and past research taking place all over the world in many different branches of science She lays out the consequences of global warming in two groups The first half of the book is directed toward what is happening to nature as a result of global warming and the second half describes what humans are doing i [...]

  14. Elliott Bignell says:
    I pounded through this book in a couple of sittings, captivated by the sheer, physical impact of its descriptions of the reality of global warming out in the field The author has been reporting on climate science and mixing with scientists for some time, and it shows Whether out on the ice in Greenland, surveying butterflies in the Home Counties or at conventions with alarmed scientists and obfuscating politicians, Kolbert has actually been there.If you know someone still trying to deny the thre [...]

  15. Isaac Baker says:
    This is a really good primer on climate change, the perfect gift for your conservative uncle who thinks climate change is a liberal conspiracy Although he wouldn t read it, which is why so many people still ignore this crucial issue they don t care about science and reality Published in 2006, I was struck over and over again by how little we have done to address climate change since this book came out It s depressing is that some things are still the same James Inhoffe, for example, is featured [...]

  16. Kurt says:
    Prior to reading this I had read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery It was an excellent book full of scientific explanations to nearly all the questions I had about the issue of climate change Field Notes From a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert is also an excellent book In fact, I wish I had read it first not because it is the better of the two books, but because it is a better introduction to the subject.Field Notes From A Catastrophe details the author s experiences as she traveled, met, and c [...]

  17. David says:
    by now a dated review of the science and politics and climate change, but it was interesting to read a few years later and realize how little the election of a Democratic president actually alters the basic difficulties of achieving drastic change Lays out pretty clearly the evidence that, as the last sentence puts it, It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing Some goo [...]

  18. Vish Wam says:
    With so much talk on what a major climate change could mean for our future, this book details what effects climate change is currently bringing upon us A dangerous extrapolation of current trends is predicted, leaving you with a strong sense of fear for what is to come and a forceful wish to act to prevent what is to come Some very interesting questions discussed in the book include How big an impact would climate change have on ecological distribution of living organisms Does climate change hav [...]

  19. Sam says:
    As Kolbert states in her introduction, this booked is aimed at the climate change sceptics than those already convinced but it is still a very good read It is written in clear and concise terms while trying to be as objective and as calm as possible about the evidence there is for anthropogenic climate change, despite the obvious and understandable temption to dive into the implications of what we as a species are doing Kolbert has managed to avoid the usual trap of preaching to the reader abou [...]

  20. Christopher Cotrell says:
    A good overview of current climate science, its history, implications, and possible courses of action and the political states of them It s all in a journalistic style, which manages to give the whole issue and its history a bit of life and personality, without the nonsense of portraying climate change deniers as anything but fools or tools of various industries.Like any reasonable overview of climate change, it s sort of a doom, gloom, doom, doom, doom, we re fucked if we don t do anything, thi [...]

  21. Michael says:
    Elizabeth Kolbert is the modern day Cassandra of Greek mythology warning of the inevitable future on climate change, if we do little to alter our current course Like Cassandra, she is given the gift of prophecy but widely ignored This book is chalked full of science, digestible for the non scientist I would recommend starting with her book The Sixth Extinction, as the storyline has wider appeal and is current in its account However, the inescapable truth of both books is that in the human marke [...]

  22. Colleen Clark says:
    Compelling Well written Unless one, understandably, feels that one has heard ENOUGH about this topic and or finds it too upsetting, this is an excellent, readable, report from a first rate journalist for The New Yorker The cover says that the text started out as a three part series in The New Yorker.The book has two parts 4 chapters grouped under Nature and 6 under Man Kolbert travels to Alaska and tells us about the permafrost Who knew much less how important it is.She explicates the history of [...]

  23. Wanda Brenni says:
    While perhaps not well written, this is a very important read the information is there the reality of our inaction obvious to all The canary is already dead For the first time in the history of the planet, we will be a species that is responsible for our own dimise as well as many of our fellow species Perhaps in that the shift towards global warming started with the industrial revolution, and perhaps given our increasing numbers, this coming self made extention may have been somewhat out of con [...]

  24. Mark Valentine says:
    Kolbert s prose will stand will last longer than our asphalt ribbonned, CO2 choked highways She writes with such a steady hand about a crisis of enormous proportion that, if she were not the voice I am reading, I would throw the book across the room because of the flagrant audacity of its content the mother of all catastrophes is upon us.Her final line of the original book screams at me with irony It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, [...]

  25. Pete daPixie says:
    Kolbert s Field notes is as up to date as you can get, 2007 , on the hard data of climate change She travels round the globe to collect findings from scientific projects, researchers and environmentalists to explain in simple terms the harsh realities of human impact on mother earth.She visits both polar regions and many points between to present data on CO2 levels, ice cap depletion, permafrost, rising sea levels, CFC emissions, third world growth, and inadequate international understanding and [...]

  26. Louisa says:
    This is not a speculative gloom and doom story, but a great textbook on climate change research and the current state of affairs, with clear case studies of places around the world where climate change is already affecting the lives of people The chapter on Dutch water management and the floating houses in Maasbommel is excellently done the Ruimte voor de Rivier Room for the River projects of which she speaks are now well underway and set to be completed in 2015 In the few years since Ms Kolbert [...]

  27. Svitlana Nova says:
    This is a wonderful introduction text for those interested in learning about what climate change is all about and what the effects of it are going to be It is a good overview from glaciers to oceans, from government policy to what each individual community can do to remedy climate change.The text is outdated at this point written in 2004 2007, the world has moved on However, in terms of climate change it hasn t moved on in the correct direction, so this book is still highly educational.

  28. Joan says:
    Since the author is a journalist, not a scientist, her book is readable than a lot of the scientists who have written about climate change She is just as passionate as the scientists are, and less ashamed to show her passion She writes of her interaction with people who are actually trying to deal with climate change which gives the book an immediate focus sometimes not as apparent in the scientist authors I do recommend this highly

  29. Janna Holm says:
    I ve been meaning to read this for years, and finally picked it up after the Paris climate talks I found it approachable and interesting It was a nice refresher on my college climate change classes, which I took around the same time as this book s publication It s a bit scary to think about how much worse the situation has gotten since 2006.

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