The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail — In The End of Ice, we follow Jamail as he scales Denali, the highest peak in North America, dives in the warm crystal waters of the Pacific only to find ghostly coral reefs, and explores the tundra of St. Paul Island where he meets the last subsistence seal hunters of the Bering Sea and witnesses its melting glaciers. Accompanied by climate scientists and people whose families have fished, farmed, and lived in the areas he visits for centuries, Jamail begins to accept the fact that Earth, most likely, is in a hospice situation. Ironically, this allows him to renew his passion for the planet’s wild places, cherishing Earth in a way he has never been able to before.
Like no other book, The End of Ice offers a firsthand chronicle—including photographs throughout of Jamail on his journey across the world—of the catastrophic reality of our situation and the incalculable necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile planet while we still can.
Sudden Spring: Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South by Rick Van Noy — The results of climate change make the headlines almost daily. All across America and the globe, communities have to adapt to rising sea levels, intensified storms, and warmer temperatures. One way or another, climate change will be a proving ground. We will either sink, in cases where the land is subsiding, or swim, finding ways to address these challenges. While temperatures and seas are rising slowly, we have some immediate choices to make. If we act quickly and boldly, there is a small window of opportunity to prevent the worst. We can prepare for the changes by understanding what is happening and taking specific measures. There is “commitment” already in the climate change system. To minimize those effects will require another kind of commitment, the kind Rick Van Noy illustrates in these stories about a climate-distressed South. Like Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking work Silent Spring, Rick Van Noy’s Sudden Spring is a call to action to mitigate the current trends in our environmental degradation. By highlighting stories of people and places adapting to the impacts of a warmer climate, Van Noy shows us what communities in the South are doing to become more climate-resilient and to survive a slow deluge of environmental challenges.
Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere edited by Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah —An essential, up-to-date look at the critical interactions between biological diversity and climate change that will serve as an immediate call to action
The physical and biological impacts of climate change are dramatic and broad-ranging. People who care about the planet and manage natural resources urgently need a synthesis of our rapidly growing understanding of these issues. In this all-new sequel to the 2005 volume Climate Change and Biodiversity, leading experts in the field summarize observed changes, assess what the future holds, and offer suggested responses. From extinction risk to ocean acidification, from the future of the Amazon to changes in ecosystem services, and from geoengineering to the power of ecosystem restoration, this book captures the sweep of climate change transformation of the biosphere.
The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World by Patrick Nunn — Patrick Nunn looks at ancient tales and traditions that may be rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and can be explored via geological evidence, such as the Biblical Flood.
We all know those stories that have been told in our families for generations. The ones that start “Have I ever told you about your great, great Uncle …?” In some cultures these stories have been passed down for thousands of years, and often reveal significant information about how the surrounding environment has changed and the effect it has had on societies–from stories referring to coastal drowning to the devastation caused by meteorite falls.
Take Australian folklore, for instance. People arrived in Australia more than 60,000 years ago, and the need to survive led to the development of knowledge that was captured orally in stories passed down through the generations. These stories conveyed both practical information and recorded history, and they frequently made reference to a coastline that was very different to the one we recognize today. In at least 21 different communities along the fringe of Australia, flood stories were recorded by European anthropologists, missionaries, and others. They described a lost landscape that is now under as much as 100 feet of ocean. And these folk traditions are backed up by hard science. Geologists are now starting to corroborate the tales through study of climatic data, sediments and land forms; the evidence was there in the stories, but until recently, nobody was listening.
The Edge of Memory is an important book that explores the wider implications for our knowledge of how human society has developed through the millennia.
Climate Change and the People’s Health by Sharon Friel — Climate Change and the People’s Health offers a brave and ambitious new framework for understanding how our planet’s two greatest existential threats comingle, complement, and amplify one another — and what can be done to mitigate future harm. In doing so it posits three new modes of thinking:
· That climate change interacts with the social determinants of health and exacerbates existing health inequities
· The idea of a “consumptagenic system” — a network of policies, processes, governance, and modes of understanding that fuel unhealthy, and environmentally destructive production and consumption· The steps necessary to move from denial and inertia toward effective mobilization, including economic, social, and policy interventions
With insights from physical science, social science, and humanities, this short book examines how climate change and social inequity are indelibly linked, and considering them together can bring about effective change in social equity, health, and the environment.Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax Is Good for America by Gilbert E. Metcalf — The threats posed by global climate change are widely recognized and carbon emissions are the major source of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels causes long-lasting, pervasive damages, costly to those of us alive today and even more to our children and our children’s children. The United States is the second largest carbon emitting country in the world and should play a key role in global efforts to reduce emissions. Paying for Pollution incisively examines the very real costs-economic and social-of climate change and the challenges of concerted action to reduce future losses due to damages of higher temperatures and more extreme weather. Gilbert E. Metcalf argues that there is a convergence of social, economic, environmental, and political forces that provides an opening for a new approach to climate policy, one based on market principles that can appeal to politicians across the political spectrum. After all, markets work best when the price of a good reflects all its costs.
Metcalf suggests that a thoughtfully and politically sensitive designed carbon tax could also contribute to an improved tax system, something desired by Republican and Democratic politicians alike. That is, a carbon tax increases fiscal flexibility by providing new revenues to finance reforms to the income tax that improve the fairness of the tax code and contribute to economic growth. Metcalf compares the benefits of a carbon tax to other potential policies, such as cap and trade, to reduce the threats of climate change. None, he shows, are as effective, efficient, and fair as a carbon tax.