The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail [9/10]

Grab this as soon as it hits the street. Jamail, a seasoned journalist and mountaineer, stuns with “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.” Weaving in riveting accounts of some of his top-of-the-world mountain adventures, he sets out to explore the spots on Earth where climate change can be seen to be happening. In Alaska and Montana, he sees firsthand how glaciers are retreating, and in Alaska’s northernmost village, he learns how Arctic sea ice is vanishing “so fast, we’re having trouble keeping up,” in the words of one scientist. In the Bering Sea, he talks to people baffled at how fishing is threatened by fast-warming ocean waters. He checks out dying coral reefs in Palau and Guam, visits the sickly Great Barrier Reef. As have a number of writers, in Florida he is flabbergasted that property investors still thrive in Miami, already subject to regular flooding. He examines trees and the Amazonian rainforests. Throughout, he is evocative yet precisely factual; the effect is overwhelming. Throughout, a constant theme is the utter inability of dedicated scientists to understand how the human race ignores their messages. When I read this – “A child born today will see an Everest largely free of glaciers within her lifetime” – I was shattered. Jamail’s final moving call to action cements “The End of Ice,” in my view, as an essential modern overview of climate disruption.

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