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Essay – The Great Climate Book | Reference on the environmental emergency

Each week, a journalist brings you a recently published article.


“To solve this problem, we must first understand it,” wrote Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who, after publishing Scenes from the heart And Join usbegan to direct climate notebook (climate book). This book differs from previous writings, and stands out as a reference book for understanding the causes and understanding of many issues of the environmental crisis.

Convinced that, to avoid the most serious consequences of this crisis, a critical mass of the people must demand change and that, to do so, it is necessary to raise awareness among the largest number, she presents a work for a fairly general audience that together, in one reading (but not least, increases The number of pages of the book about 400 pages), the keys to understanding and representation.

Greta Thunberg signed some texts there, but most of them were written by a hundred experts from various disciplines (climatologists, geologists, economists, biologists, psychologists, doctors, etc.) as well as writers, journalists and activists. Thus, the writings of Naomi Klein and Margaret Atwood chime with those of economist Thomas Piketty and noted climate scientist Michael E. man.

This interdisciplinary approach makes for all the richness of this book which results in a highly successful generalization and pedagogical exercise, albeit a bit repetitive.

When science journalist Peter Brannen chronicles the carbon cycle and when atmospheric and climate influence scientist Michael Oppenheimer explains the physical principles behind global warming, everything seems to make sense.

We also realize that science does not understand everything, and that there are still many unknowns, including tipping points and the effects of positive feedback loops that could amplify projected warming.

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The article also takes us to the coast, to Hindu Omar Ibrahim, who tells how, there, “the rain is everything” and how the rain is no longer more and more. Or in Lapland in Elin Anna Labba, where Sami tries to save a skeletal reindeer, and in the Amazon in Sônia Guajajara, who recently became Brazil’s Minister for Indigenous Peoples.

Despite its digestible story-packed content, it’s a boring piece of work that sometimes undermines morale. And this, even if the word “hope” appears several times and after the chapter “What have we done so far?” (Disclosure: not much), we’re making room for solutions by putting forth “what we need to do now”: move away from consumerism, rebuild, transform our economic institutions, and put in place a just transition, among other things.

This is a book that has the power to enlighten and mobilize us, but it must be taken in small doses for better digestion.

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“We have lost an essential race – the one that was supposed to prevent harmful effects – but today, in the face of accelerating global warming, we find ourselves at the starting line of a second race: aimed at mitigating the effects of the climate crisis and preserving a habitable planet. Adapting to this will require The new phase of emerging leaders is about standing up to the interests of fossil fuel giants and popular myopia – something my generation never achieved.

Michael Oppenheimer is Professor of Earth Sciences and International Affairs at Princeton University

The Big Climate Book

The Big Climate Book

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441 pages