Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Environmental Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert Event Planned

kolbertAs the fall weather heads toward winter, join Elizabeth Kolbert for a conversation on climate change in our area. Kolbert is a reporter and author of the new book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. S he’ll speak at 7PM on November 14th, in the Adirondack Room of the Joan Weill Library at Paul Smith’s College.

Kolbert published Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change in 2005, in which she followed scientists and residents of high latitudes to report a local and global climate portrait. This time, she’s using the same journalistic savvy to investigate our effects on biodiversity.Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. In the Sixth Extinction, Kolbert explores the possibility that we are headed for another of these catastrophic events – possibly the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

This time around, though, we’re the cause. The two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, and others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

 

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.




One Response

  1. Paul K says:

    The asteroid impact, it is one theory, what about a world wide flood, that is certainly a possibility for dinosaur extinction, and as far as i know, has not been ruled out, or has it?

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