Dahr Jamail is an adventurer and journalist. His 2019 book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, is both objective and deeply personal.
Jamail has spent plenty of time exploring various parts of our world’s outdoors, as well as reporting in war-torn regions. His dual perspective informs his discussion of climate disruption’s impact in some formerly-pristine areas of the globe. He also brings it home to the U.S. by talking about Florida, in particular, the Everglades and Miami.
Beginning with Denali National Forest in Alaska, Jamail discusses the day-to-day changes for both locals and visitors. Plus, he addresses longer range effects of the various aspects of climate disruption. Then he moves to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s forests, and coastal cities.
This is an ambitious book that still manages to be down-to-earth in its accessibility. Jamail could easily have over “scienced” his writing. But, instead, he talks about the issues he sees and interviews people whose lives and careers intersect with climate science.
This is a book that I’ll revisit as time passes. As accessible as it felt, I also got overwhelmed. It hurts my heart to read over and over that unique aspects of the natural world are disappearing and probably ruined forever.
Jamail captures the beauty of the places he travels in the book. He offers mostly objective perspectives. I know now that all the travel I’d like to do must not wait. Not only because I’m not getting any younger, but the places I want to go are changing drastically with each passing year.
Climate disruption is an existential crisis, there’s not doubt in my mind. If you question the science, give this book a try. If you believe the science, do the same. Jamail makes a strong case.
Pair with A World Without Us by Alan Weisman and Material Value by Julia Goldstein, for two more environmentally-focused reads. The Overstory by Richard Powers would be a good pair, since it discusses the state of the forests.