Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#StevesLibrary: Field Notes from a Catastrophe

Following the news that the Amazon has been on fire for a few weeks and accelerating climate change, I thought I’d provide my feedback on a book that seems very relevant given the circumstances. Like you, I’ve been quite disheartened by the news but thankfully there is hope out there and in the form of a book (although I’m sure there are others on the topic that are just also cover the topic). The book I’ve chosen this week is Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Kolbert is known for her insightful and thought-provoking journalism especially following her work at the New Yorker. I had previously read Kolbert’s other book The Sixth Extinction which covers a very similar topic.

The book itself started life a three-part series in the New Yorker, which won a National Magazine Award in 2006. Kolbert takes this basis and uses it to dispel misinformation and put aside political agendas to provide an accurate summary of what is really going on with the planet’s climate. Despite everything we see on the news, it is impressive that Kolbert is able to avoid all of the doom and gloom. There is also a fair bit of information on what can be done to save our planet and how to go about it. Of course some of that change is out of our hands but if enough of us lobby governments and companies, hopefully we will all be able to move forward in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way.

The book is extremely well-researched and grounded, providing the ultimate reading for anyone worried about their carbon footprint in the Anthropocene. I would recommend to anyone who aims to become more environmentally conscious in terms of climate change and how they can make small lifestyle choices that have big positive impacts. In my view it should be mandatory reading for all climate-change deniers or policy makers for the reasons that it is accessible and provides and undeniable argument about our role in the altering of the climate.


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