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After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.
In The End of Ice, we follow Jamail as he scales Denali, the highest peak in North America, dives in the warm crystal waters of the Pacific only to find ghostly coral reefs, and explores the tundra of St. Paul Island where he meets the last subsistence seal hunters of the Bering Sea and witnesses its melting glaciers. Accompanied by climate scientists and people whose families have fished, farmed, and lived in the areas he visits for centuries, Jamail begins to accept the fact that Earth, most likely, is in a hospice situation. Ironically, this allows him to renew his passion for the planet’s wild places, cherishing Earth in a way he has never been able to before.
Like no other book, The End of Ice offers a firsthand chronicle—including photographs throughout of Jamail on his journey across the world—of the catastrophic reality of our situation and the incalculable necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile planet while we still can.
Advance Praise for The End of Ice
“After traveling the world to places undergoing rapid and severe destruction of ecosystems due to human actions, Jamail adopted the term “climate disruption” as more accurate than “climate change.” Winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, Jamail covered the war in Iraq; then, as an ardent mountaineer witnessing the rapid erosion of glaciers in Alaska, he turned to environmental reporting. Understanding that only those intimate with nature fully perceive the significance of the warming of the atmosphere and oceans and the dire and cascading consequences, Jamail speaks with longtime residents and scientists in besieged regions from the Arctic to the Amazon to Pacific islands. Jamail visits endangered coral reefs, degraded forests, thawing permafrost, and the flooding streets of Miami. He precisely explains how the current decimation “could bring down the entire miracle of existence as we have known it.” Matching awe for the majestic intricacy and beauty of nature with exacting and alarming dispatches, Jamail calls on us to respect facts, honor life, and recognize that we are facing increasingly tragic disruptions and loss. Enlightening, heartbreaking, and necessary.” -Donna Seaman in Booklist (Dec 15, 2018 issue)
Troubled by the changes that humankind’s disassociation and disregard of nature have wrought, journalist Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone) visited various biospheres to “bear witness” to climate change. In the introduction, Jamail writes that he prefers using “anthropogenic (human-caused) climate disruption” instead of climate change, as humans are clearly responsible for the changes researchers have documented. He details his journeys to areas showing the greatest impacts of climate disruption so far: the Arctic, the Everglades/south Florida, the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef, and western U.S. forests. At each location, Jamail spoke with researchers and residents witnessing the pernicious impacts of climate disruption: species extinctions, sea-level rise, new weather patterns, coastline erosion, deforestation, ocean acidification, thawing permafrost, and rapidly melting glaciers. Moreover, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a report warning of unstoppable climate changes if action is not immediately taken. VERDICT This book will help readers understand how ecosystems have been affected by climate change and how inaction has potentially doomed further generations. -Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Lib., IN in Library Journal (Dec 1, 2018 issue)
“Assiduously researched, profoundly affecting, and filled with vivid evocations of the natural world. Jamail’s deep love of nature blazes through his crisp, elegant prose, and he ably illuminates less-discussed aspects of climate disruption…. A passionate, emotional ode to the wonders of our dying planet and to those who, hopelessly or not, dedicate their lives to trying to save it.” -Kirkus Reviews
“In a sane world The End of Ice would be the end of lame excuses that climate change is too abstract to get worked up about. From the Arctic to the Amazon, from doomed Miami to the Great Barrier Reef, Dahr Jamail brings every frontier in our on-going calamity into close focus. The losses are tangible. And so is the grief. This is more than a good book. It is a wise one.”
-William deBuys, author of A Great Aridness and The Last Unicorn
“Jamail’s stories—of journey, expertise, and compassion—ensure that we can look at the sometimes failing sometimes triumphing world we inhabit with love. For many, this love will be accompanied by shame for our own failings and misguided triumphs over the living beings, lands, waters, and ices we live among. No matter the wounds—those of the planet’s or our own human sufferings—The End of Ice guides us toward experiencing these rapidly shifting spaces as sanctuaries, places to remind ourselves we are alive and among the living. We can’t imagine yet what the new world will look like, the one we are creating by carving away at and poisoning the first world we were given, the one that will ultimately go on in our absence, but this book will help us begin to take notice of it, as it is already arriving. I am grateful for this gift of wonder and contemplation that Jamail has given us, and the opportunity to slow for a moment and take in the immensity of my own life and participation in the existence we all share. This earth was our first teacher, and though we haven’t listened well, we have time yet to hear its song.” –Natalie Diaz, Native language activist, MacArthur “genius” grant winner, and author of the forthcoming Postcolonial Love Poem (Graywolf Press 2020).
“Many of us know in our heads about rapid climate destabilization. The End of Ice asks us to feel the reality in our bodies. Dahr Jamail takes us to the places where denial of the effects of climate change is impossible—glaciers and fishing communities, coastal cities and coral reefs, forests around the world—and reports not just on what is happening but how it feels to confront this reality. Jamail draws on his experience as a mountaineer, and that deep point of personal connection to the world opens his up to landscapes unfamiliar. In each journey, the revelation is the same: To challenge effectively our earth-abusing societies, we must be willing to grieve what already has been lost and what will be lost. The End of Ice grapples with the grief that comes with an honest engagement with the world.” -Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin, author of We Are All Apocalyptic Now and Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully
“What a strange and compelling paradox this book offers: to fall in love with the Earth and all that we are losing, to let our hearts open to the deepest grief, and then trust that our grieving opens us to profound love. When what we love is lost, our grief honors the loss and cracks open our hearts to live fully in the present moment which is joyous. Thank you Dahr Jamail for this gift.” -Margaret Wheatley, author of many books, including Leadership and the New Science and most recently, Who Do We Choose To Be?