Toxic Talk of the Month – Field Notes from a Catastrophe

In light of the recent U.S. presidential elections and the preceding debates, I was all too reminded of the lack of attention paid to the most pressing issue of our time; namely, climate change. While nations around the world rally to legislate international policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. has simply languished due to repeated blocks by a republican senate (yes, climate change has unfortunately become a partisan issue). With Donald Trump now bound for the White House, we can expect a Supreme Court that will likely block the only regulatory hope we had (the Clean Power Plan) at seriously curbing domestic greenhouse gas emissions. With that being said, it is time for Americans to break away from the politicization and partisan spin on climate change. We simply can't rely on political figures to deliver a message when their funding depends on their silence. We must rely on our scientists to deliver this message. To this end, I am initiating a blog series aimed at educating the public on the science of climate change. As a first step, I present to you Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the first book on climate change I ever read. It is an excellent read that I would consider non-technical and enjoyable for the greater public, yet replete with essential information. It weaves the science of climate change into an interesting investigatory narrative, told by a journalist with a burning desire to understand and report on the issue. Throughout her book, author Elizabeth Kolbert travels around the world, interviewing climate scientists and visiting places afflicted by climate change. Her observations are very real, and her discussions with scientists very telling.  

Ms. Kolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker for nearly 20 years. Her book originally stemmed from a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in the Newspaper. She expanded on this story to put together this captivating book. Although originally published in 2006, her book was updated in 2015 to include several new chapters. Yes, climate change has only gotten worse, and the impacts more widespread! So I call on Americans and people around the world, please learn about climate change. Get to know the issue and what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and, importantly, to pressure your local politicians to act on the matter. Expand your knowledge using unbiased, science-based websites. No corporate or political sites! This book is a good place to start. For other credible info sites, and how to avoid garbage info, read my previous blog. And importantly, stay tuned for my climate change blog series!

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                                                                                        Shahir Masri
                                                                                        Doctor of Science
                                                                                        Environmental Health Science


  1. I am almost finished reading this book, and it is excellent! Thank you for the great recommendation. I love how Kolbert uses anecdotes and interesting examples to highlight current issues and impacts of climate change. For a non-scientific person, this book is an easy to follow read!

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