Sunday, November 22, 2009

Field Notes IV: Chapter 5-6

Chapter 5 left me a bit confused about Kolbert's thesis. I was under the impression this whole time that she blames Global Warming on humans; however, I don't see how her discussion about the demise of ancient civilizations supports this. If climate changes have wreaked havoc on civilizations before, through no fault of the ancient peoples, than why should we assume that what is happening now is any different? Her examples seem to prove that climate change can happen regardless of anyone's carbon footprint.

I did find the explanation of how climate models are constructed to be interesting. I like the idea of the earth and its atmosphere being divided up into cubes. It also makes sense that a grid like this would make it a lot easier to study and discuss the climate of specific regions and altitudes.

I also very much enjoyed the discussion of the Dutch ad campaign at the beginning of chapter 6, as well as, the discussion of the amphibian houses. As far as I can recall, these are the first instances of Kolbert discussing proactive measures being taken in regards to climate change. I find this approach much more productive than simply providing readers with horrifying numbers and sad stories. This leaves readers feeling helpless and freaked out. I think a better goal is to inspire readers to get involved with preparing for life in the future and demonstrate that there are options to be taken advantage of.

As far as the quality of writing, I still feel that Kolbert has riddled this book with entirely too many off-topic rants; however, there were two descriptions at the end of chapter 6 that I thought were good. She describes the sun as, "starting to sink," after a lengthy discussion of flooding. This was clever. I also thought the description of the amphibian houses looking like, "a row of toasters," was creative and effective.

1 comment:

  1. We should discuss in class whether Ch. 5 weakens the case for anthropogenic global warming.