Staff Pick

“It is … tragically difficult to talk about the planetary crisis in a way that is believed,” Foer states. His own effort ranges from a blunt catalog of statistics and a confession of his own failures to act, to a dramatic debate with his soul and a recontextualizing of the crisis as a post-Biblical event, one in which “we are the flood and we are the ark.” His most powerful move is to compare the climate crisis to World War II. He reminds us that during that conflict civilians at home hung blackout curtains, ate less meat, and drove slower. They made these “sacrifices” willingly: it was part of the collective effort in a time of crisis. But also during that period, when the first stories of the Holocaust surfaced, they were so horrific that they were simply unbelievable. No one acted right away. How many lives did that delay cost? Today, though we watch glaciers melting and experience extreme storms, we don’t really believe that it’s a crisis. What will it take to get us to act? While we need to do a lot to keep the planet habitable, Foer makes a compelling case for diet as the first, relatively “easy” place to start. Because animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation and contributes an outsize amount to greenhouse gas emissions, if every American cut back on meat by 90% and dairy by 60%, we could begin to get things under control. Foer, a repeatedly lapsing vegan, admits how difficult this is. He also reminds us that it’s one of the easier of the many sacrifices we will all be making soon, voluntarily or not.

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280000
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 17th, 2019

Staff Pick

As a writer—of novels, essays, memoirs, poems—Kingsnorth’s engagement with the world comes filtered through words. Consequently, when something goes awry in his relationship to those words, his whole world starts to fall apart. Rather than bringing on a case of writer’s block, however, this crisis makes Kingsnorth reassess what words—those demanding, relentless “savage gods”—want from him and how he can live an authentic life through or despite them. The quest launches him into this extraordinary set of reflections—as eloquent as they are anguished—that range from literary to philosophical to spiritual to socio-cultural as he considers his roles and responsibilities to his family, to the environment, to culture.

Savage Gods Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512859
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Two Dollar Radio - September 17th, 2019

Staff Pick

Once written off as an icy wasteland “of no use to mankind,” Greenland over the last century has come to occupy a major role in climate change studies. In this fascinating history of the world’s largest island, Gertner recounts how that shift came about. A study of extremes, the book is divided into two parts that could almost be describing different places. “Explorations” follows the treks of Nansen, Peary, Rasmussen, and Wegener, men who were as much adventurers as scientists, even as their expeditions laid the ground for modern glaciology. Traveling by sledge, they spent months crossing the hundreds of miles of Greenland’s ice sheet, enduring unimaginable cold, hunger, loneliness, and in some cases surviving by burrowing underground. Gertner vividly evokes these struggles and writes beautifully about the unforgiving landscape. By 1949, thanks to planes and snowmobiles, the ice sheet was much easier to navigate. It was also smaller and warmer, and “Investigations” charts the simultaneous advances in technology that allowed researchers to drill to the bedrock below the ice—extracting a “core” rich with data about ten thousand years of weather—and the growing understanding of rising temperatures and sea levels, feedback loops, and Greenland’s central position in all this as “the world’s cooling system.”

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812996623
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House - June 11th, 2019