Elizabeth Kolbert: Field Notes from a Catastrophe

THU, APR 6, 2006 (1:02:52)

New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert discusses topics from her new book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Americans have been warned since the late 1970s 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 path, the world has reached a critical threshold. By the end of the twenty-first century, it will likely be hotter than at any point in the last two million years, and the sweeping consequences of this change will determine the course of life on earth for generations to come. Acclaimed journalist Elizabeth 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 American people and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.

+ BIO: Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1999. Her stories for the magazine have included political profiles, book reviews, Comment pieces, and extensive writing on climate change. Her three-part series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won the 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest, the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, and the 2006 National Academies Communication Award. Kolbert came to the magazine from the New York Times, where she wrote the “Metro Matters” column and, from 1992 to 1997, was a political and media reporter. She also contributed articles to the New York Times Magazine on subjects ranging from the use of focus groups in elections to the New York water supply. From 1988 to 1991, she was the New York Times Albany Bureau Chief. Kolbert began working for the Times in 1984, as a stringer based in Germany, and moved to the Metro desk in 1985. Her first book, The Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit, was published in 2004. Her second book is called Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

Boston Athenaeum
Climate Change