New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert has long been one of the most prolific and closely-watched journalists regularly reporting on climate change. Her pieces are well worth reading, her topics serious and, at the same time, enjoyable, perhaps because her style is so personable and lucid: she takes us along as she explores and learns.
Note: The New Yorker allows several free reads per month before its paywall appears.
If you missed Kolbert’s influential 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, it deserves your time even now. Or you can read the three magazine pieces (“The Climate of Man,” 2005) that comprise much the book: first piece, second piece, and third piece.
Since then, in addition to her Pulitzer-winning book The Sixth Extinction, Kolbert has written interesting articles about:
- direct air carbon capture (2017), a technology that might save us if it ever becomes practical in scale and cost,
- ice melt on Greenland (2016), and
- Miami (2015) and its rising sea level problem
Kolbert’s new book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, looks at how thoroughly we have altered our planet and the kinds of possibly compensatory, possibly dangerous alterations humans are making now, or may decide to make. Her two biggest topics are climate change/geoengineering and the loss of biodiversity/bioengineering.
Because this book is just now out, there are several excellent interviews available for review in transcript form, including these three:
- with Ezra Klein, on the Ezra Klein Show podcast (at this New York Times link or via other sources for podcasts); note that Klein’s past podcasts include other interviews focused on climate change;
- with Dave Davies, on Fresh Air (National Public Radio); and
- with Jeff Goodell, at Rolling Stone; Goodell’s journalistic beat overlaps with Kolbert’s, as in his fine 2013 article about Miami and subsequent book, The Water Will Come (2017)
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.