If I could rate a book on this site above five stars, this one would be a ten. Having just seen The Day After Tomorrow, I read High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis by Mark Lynas and actually wept for my son. Being somewhat well-read on climate change (I think Iíve read about a dozen books and dozens of research papers over the last two months), I knew that the movie overhyped and dramatized. Thatís entertainment. But this book is telling the truth, and the truth is even more heart breaking than any big, splashy Hollywood disaster epic.
Mark Lynas, a journalist and climate change specialist with an obvious passion for this subject, traveled the world looking for the real story of global warming, and found evidence of global warming everywhere he went. His story reads like a travelogue filled with scientific facts and research, and is engaging on both levels. But what really makes this book a Ten is the powerful feeling you get reading it that the author really gives a damn, and wants you to give a damn, too.
Lynas starts in his own backyard, documenting the drastic changes in Britainís weather, then travels from the Alaskan Arctic, where native Eskimos continue to watch their lives transformed due to melting ice sheets and glacial shrinking, yet still must side with oil companies eager to drill on their pristine land so they can feed their children. It is a tragic and terrible trade-off; one that the author proves will decide the fate of all of our children within the next ten to 100 years.
Next, Lynas goes to the tiny island nation of Tuvalu, where global warmingís effects are so obvious, the nation is actually evacuating its citizens over the next decade, which is how long scientists predict the islands may still be above water. It is heart-wrenching to meet these lovely islanders who must struggle with watching their land, and their culture, destroyed due to excessive oil and coal use by richer, more powerful nations.
Then itís on to the Chinese desert to observe the growing phenomenon of Red Clouds, to American hurricane country, and finally to the Peruvian Andes, where glacial melting is happening at a terrifyingly fast rate. Throughout his travels, Lynas talks not only with actual residents of these areas who are suffering right now due to climate change, but to other scientists and officials desperate for solutions. And the one constant Lynas finds other than proof that global warming is real, is the total lack of concern or cooperation with the Bush Administration, and its anti-environmental allies, including the right-wing government of Australia, the worldís second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
This is a book that will make you rage at our government, and make you want to reach out and grab your children, fearful for their future, because the mounting evidence is overwhelmingly frightening, and unless we act now and drastically, a severe global climate change is inevitable. Unlike The Day After Tomorrow, it is not an ice age we will be facing, but a world where half of all land mass will be underwater, and the other half will be dying of thirst and starvation. This includes America, which makes you wonder whether anyone in this current presidential administration gives a damn about their children, and their childrenís children.
The most enraging part of High Tide, though, is not all the statistics and visual evidence the author found in his travels and research. It is the section that deals with the ridiculous arguing and bickering behind the scenes at the many Kyoto Protocol meetings, where representatives of the U.S. and Australia refused to admit their nationís role in climate change, and then refused to even partake in the Protocol because of, you guessed it, money.
That our government would choose money and selfish greed over our childrenís futures is enough to make you want to break something. But Mark Lynas has many empowering suggestions at the end of the book that will be far more beneficial. Vote. Get active. Read up on the subject matter. Review the scientific research, much of which is available on the Net. Most of all start conserving energy in your own home, where you can. This book is filled with great ideas, books and websites to check out.
High Tide should be required reading for everyone of voting age. The tragic thing is, the devastation of climate change will be felt mostly by those who are way too young to vote. Are we going to protect them, or destroy their future because of our greed? The choice is ours, and time is running out.
The tide is coming in.