The end of ice Bearing witness and finding meaning in the path of climate disruption

Dahr Jamail

Book - 2019

"A firsthand chronicle of the catastrophic reality of our planet's changing ecosystems and the necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile Earth while we still can"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : The New Press [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
257 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [231]-248) and index.
ISBN
9781620972342
1620972344
Main Author
Dahr Jamail (author)
  • Denali
  • Time becomes unfrozen
  • The canary in the coal mine
  • Farewell coral
  • The coming Atlantis
  • The fate of the forests
  • The fuses are lit
  • The end at the top of the world
  • Conclusion: Presence.
Review by Booklist Reviews

After traveling the world to places undergoing rapid and severe destruction of ecosystems due to human actions, Jamail adopted the term "climate disruption" as more accurate than "climate change." Winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, Jamail covered the war in Iraq; then, as an ardent mountaineer witnessing the rapid erosion of glaciers in Alaska, he turned to environmental reporting. Understanding that only those intimate with nature fully perceive the significance of the warming of the atmosphere and oceans and the dire and cascading consequences, Jamail speaks with longtime residents and scientists in besieged regions from the Arctic to the Amazon to Pacific islands. Jamail visits endangered coral reefs, degraded forests, thawing permafrost, and the flooding streets of Miami. He precisely explains how the current decimation "could bring down the entire miracle of existence as we have known it." Matching awe for the majestic intricacy and beauty of nature with exacting and alarming dispatches, Jamail calls on us to respect facts, honor life, and recognize that we are facing increasingly tragic disruptions and loss. Enlightening, heartbreaking, and necessary. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Journalist/mountaineer Jamail illustrates firsthand the devastation global warming wreaks on the planet, offering myriad examples from around the world. On the remote Alaskan Aleutian island of St. Paul, residents face the collapse of the fishing and whaling industries due to melting sea ice. The temperature in Barrow, Alaska—above the Arctic Circle—has warmed significantly in the last few decades, resulting in rapidly melting permafrost, heavier blizzards, damaged infrastructure, and seashore encroachment. Denali's (Mt. McKinley) glaciers are rapidly melting, as are the glaciers elsewhere in Alaska and throughout the world. It's not just colder climates that suffer the effects of ice melt. Ninety percent of the coral reefs in the Pacific have been decimated by warmer sea temperatures. The Florida Everglades are starting to sink, while major coastal cities face rising seas and saline intrusion into the water table. Fish and wildlife are disappearing at alarming rates. Jamail gives some very brutal and concrete examples of the real effects of climate change. The book offers no new insights or solutions for the problems of global warming, but is more a requiem for a dying Earth. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.--C. A. Sproles, University of LouisvilleClaudene A. SprolesUniversity of Louisville Claudene A. Sproles Choice Reviews 57:02 October 2019 Copyright 2019 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Troubled by the changes that humankind's disassociation and disregard of nature have wrought, journalist Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone) visited various biospheres to "bear witness" to climate change. In the introduction, Jamail writes that he prefers using "anthropogenic (human-caused) climate disruption" instead of climate change, as humans are clearly responsible for the changes researchers have documented. He details his journeys to areas showing the greatest impacts of climate disruption so far: the Arctic, the Everglades/south Florida, the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef, and western U.S. forests. At each location, Jamail spoke with researchers and residents witnessing the pernicious impacts of climate disruption: species extinctions, sea-level rise, new weather patterns, coastline erosion, deforestation, ocean acidification, thawing permafrost, and rapidly melting glaciers. Moreover, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a report warning of unstoppable climate changes if action is not immediately taken. VERDICT This book will help readers understand how ecosystems have been affected by climate change and how inaction has potentially doomed further generations.—Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Lib., IN Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone), a war correspondent and mountaineer, offers an unrelentingly depressing account of the current state of the environment. Time and again, Jamail asserts that all available scientific evidence shows that the damage humanity has done to the planet cannot be reversed, recounting near the start his realization that "we had defiled the biosphere and we were past the point of no return." His survey of various ecosystems, including the Alaskan glaciers, the Amazon basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and northern California's forests, leads him to the grim conclusion that "we are already facing mass extinction." Jamail has managed to achieve inner peace by accepting the inevitability of humanity's end, even as he grieves deeply, although he offers no basis for concluding that his calm response will be widespread. His message is not entirely consistent; he echoes an expert in palliative care that "the time to change our ways is long past," but also endorses Vaclav Havel's definition of hope as "the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out," suggesting some merit to changing policies. The hopelessness this book engenders makes its intended audience and scope of readership unclear. Agent: Anthony Arnove, Roam Agency. (Jan.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Describes the author's visits to endangered global ecosystems to explore how humans will cope with the planet's radically changing climate.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The prize-winning author of Beyond the Green Zone describes his visits to such global hotspots as Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rain forest to explore how humans will cope with the planet's radically changing ecosystems. 17,500 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A firsthand chronicle of the catastrophic reality of our planet's changing ecosystems and the necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile Earth while we still can"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

As seen in The New York Times, Men's Journal, Smithsonian.com, and The GuardianThe author who Jeremy Scahill calls the "quintessential unembedded reporter" visits "hot spots" around the world in a global quest to discover how we will cope with our planet's changing ecosystemsAfter nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.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.