by Sukey HowardMay, 2006
Many scientists have seen global warming as a clear and present danger for years; still there are those who want to deny it, to say that we need more studies, that remedies would put an unfair burden on business and the First World. Elizabeth Kolbert's <b>Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change</b> makes a strong, well-reasoned case for what is truly at stake the very survival of our world and the colossal civilization we've built on it. Not a diatribe in any sense, this is a fascinating, comprehensible look at what's actually happening in Alaska, Iceland and Greenland, at retreating arctic sea ice, thawing permafrost, warming oceans, melting glaciers and the redistribution of species like the golden toad in Costa Rica, butterflies in the North of England and mosquitoes in New Jersey. We go with her as she travels to places where changes can be seen, listen as she talks with the scientists who are documenting these changes, and get an understanding of the politics involved, of what we know and what we refuse to know about global warming. Because Kolbert's account is presented without rant, it's all the more persuasive and disquieting, all the more important. Kolbert reads her introduction and Hope Davis continues the narration with calm authority.