Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chapters 2/3

Kolbert presents several new pieces of evidence to support the sentiment that the earth’s climate is changing. One of her strongest examples, I believe, is presented in the form of a retreating glacier. She mentions how glaciers melt a little bit each year, but then expounds upon that by saying in recent years, the glacier has shrunk by hundreds of feet.

In the last few sentences of the third chapter, Kolbert reiterates how drastically the climate is changing when she notes how far the glacier stood from the rock that used to mark its place. When she said, “So I climbed back up to take a second look,” she insinuates that global warming is real, it’s a big deal, and things as we know them now are not going to remain that way for long. Not that she tells us to take a "second look," but she indirectly tells us her opinion and that she isn't going to waste the opportunity.

Another piece of evidence Kolbert presents is the “Keeling Curve.” The graph shows a jagged line, steadily increasing as the years progress. Numbers sometimes go over my head, but actually seeing the statistics in a way my mind can easily interpret them, it became more clear how serious the issue has become.

I am a pretty firm believer when it comes to global warming, but putting that aside, there is perhaps one area where Kolbert could improve her argument. She does a great job at showing effects of global warming in certain areas, but so far, I believe, only within the Arctic Circle. She wants everyone to read this book, and I’m sure she wants everyone to know how global warming is going to affect them personally. Obviously, I haven’t finished the book yet, so I can’t say if she does or does not go on to do this, but I think her case would be improved if she included how global warming is and will change the environments in which everyone lives. She even said in the last chapter that there aren’t a ton of people living in Greenland. Well, the people in Greenland know how global warming is affecting them. How are the rest of us affected? Her arguments may be in the right neighborhood, but they aren’t hitting close enough to home yet.

I like Kolbert’s writing style. I think it’s clear and easy to understand. The way she adds random information and humor (sometimes morbid humor) really adds to the story. The book reads more like a story than a text book, which is why it is easier to read and take in the information she is presenting us with. She definitely makes thinks clear, giving examples and analogies even to explain graphs that you can see.

I believe her writing is fairly objective. She obviously is trying to convince all of her readers that global warming is a real problem we need to start addressing, but when there are two ideas or viewpoints, she states them both. She asked Steffen what he thought the ice shelf would look like in 10 years (pg 57) and he said the “signals should be much more distinct.” Then she adds Zwally’s opinion afterward. It’s hard to give both sides of the story when you’re only with scientists who believe in global warming and study its effects. So for what the story is, she is as objective as she can be.

1 comment:

  1. Jenna, in her later chapters, Kolbert does talk about places other than the Arctic.