Essay On Catastrophe of Man, Nature & Climate Change

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A Catastrophe of Man, Nature, and Climate Change

Author Elizabeth Kolbert was a journalist for the New York Times. Her earlier articles on climate change during her years as an investigative journalist led her to do more research on the controversial and real topic of Global warming. Her book, titled: Field Notes from a catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate change goes into precise details on her research and experiences on the adverse issues of global warming. The book’s prose contains physio-geographical speak of climate change and its degenerative repercussions from region to region. The theme is fragmented into distinct views of the interaction between man and nature and the existing break-off (Kolbert, 2007).

During her pursuits, Kolbert travels to different territories to learn more on the effects of Global warming. Her interaction with experts in this field is sterling, and is further augmented by how she translates it into a comprehensive exposition. Not too shallow and not complex at all. She visits locations such as Greenland, Alaska, Oregon and Yorkshire areas where experts are studying or people are experiencing, firsthand, the end product of global warming.

Kolbert makes her scenes our scenes. I can see clearly the situation on the ground while reading this book. The transition is well ordered and the magnitudes of the effects are thoroughly portrayed. She has visited countries such as Holland where the government has bought out land that lies on low lying areas that cannot be reclaimed from the gradually rising sea. Evidence of global warming can be seen in the extent of melted glaciers in the Arctic the size of New York, Georgia and Texas combined (Kolbert, 2007). A mass exodus of people from the coastal areas can be evidently seen since the rising see water gives people no choice but to move to safer ground. Experiments of floating homes and buoyant highways are one of the ways that nations such as Holland are trying to adapt to try and find safer ways to settle its citizens. Other countries like the Netherlands are building modern houses that resemble toasters, the houses are made to adapt to the rising sea and the continuous flash floods that continue to reoccur in low lying areas.

Global warming, she claims, is as a result of the carbon emissions that are caused by man. Man is pointed out as the root of global warming and man is the only person charged with the responsibility of resolving the impending destruction of the ecology. For example, former USA president Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol with respect to green house emissions. At that time, USA was the leading emitter. Kolbert lays the blame squarely on man. She explicitly shows how man has no regards for the continuity and preservation of future generations. The reason for man’s inability to care for the environment is of an economic nature. Accelerated global warming is either as a result of industrialization or indirectly due to the heavy capital requirements of adapting to alternative climate-friendly energy. This indicates the process to bring sanctity in issues of carbon emissions will be a long and difficult process, she concludes.

This book is addressed to every citizen in the world, to show people the choices we make have consequences. Kolbert’s eyewitness report is impartial showing what a great journalist she is. At the end, she however expresses the hopelessness of man. After reading this book, one should get a clear understanding of global warming. The order of how the past and future climate activities overlap is well laid out. I certainly grasp that it is not too late for a turn-around but drastic measures have to be taken (Kolbert, 2007).


Kolbert, E. (2006). Field notes from a catastrophe: man, nature and climate change. London: Bloomsbury.