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Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
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2015 ♦Archives Buddy Read ♦ > Lulu & Karina - Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

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message 1: by Denise, Manufacturing Director (new)

Denise (destiny_chan) | 5907 comments Mod
Lulu & Karina - Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change


Lulu (robotwitch) So I was quite happy with how we did this last time - just posting whenever we finished a chapter or two. This one's much shorter, anyway, so should go faster too.

Are you still up for that? Or would you rather a harder set schedule? I'll probably start this one after the 12th, when my deadlines are done.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments That sounds excellent - I have a few ARCs I should tend to, so if this one can wait until 12th-ish, that's great!


Lulu (robotwitch) Ha, I was going to mention I would be a bit delayed because of a readathon I'm doing, but then I had a sneaky look at your website, and saw you were participating as well!

I'll probably start it on Monday at this rate, since I've got too many books I'm trying to get through this week for BoB.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments So in sync, hah. I read the prologue and first chapter today (and don't have much to comment so far, except eyerolls over climate change skeptics and yay, it reads just like the 6th extinction) - but I'll let the next chapter wait a few days then, so I can fit in more readathon-y things meanwhile!


Lulu (robotwitch) I read the prologue as well, since it was just a couple of pages. I'm so stupidly jealous of the amazing places Kolbert gets to visit with her work.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Yes! ...I keep expecting horror story to happen when I read about the Arctic, though. That's a lovely piece of pop-cultural conditioning. :3


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Wow, this month has so many very good books in it. I'll work on squeezing in some more field notes chapters this week, though!


Lulu (robotwitch) Yes, I know what you mean. It doesn't help I'm being overambitious and keep picking up more and more books to finish by the end of the month!

I will be trying to get a bit in over the weekend, and then two every day after that? To try and get it finished in time.


message 10: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Right, finally got around to the first chapter. Fascinating. You're right, there was a bit of a horror movie aspect to the Arctic, as always. The fact that the biggest effects happen where the least people live makes sense, but makes it difficult, I guess, for normal, not-living-in-out-of-the-way-places people to really be able to assess climate change with our own eyes. It's hard to get your head around huge figures like those of global warming without seeing it, you know?

The prediction that they'll be no more ice cap by 2080 scares the heck out of me. I might just be around to see that, if I live to that age. I didn't know the estimates placed the date that soon. The images of the rock rolling down hill did help with the fear.

Soooo. I can tell already this book is going to leave my bummed out about our species, and myself. Oh dear.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Seanan McGuire's short story "The myth of rain" (posted in full here, Lightspeed magazine) is... thematically related. I happened to read it directly after this first chapter. :3


message 12: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Very relevant, and an enjoyable story! Thanks for the link.

Finished chapter two today. It was mysteriously short. Mysterious because, as I reached the last page of it, I kept wondering why she hadn't expanded on much. It felt kind of...sloppy isn't the word I'm looking for. Maybe, rushed? As if she wanted to talk about the science but was scared of readers getting bored with it, so just stuck as much as she thought we could stomach in?

Anyway, it was interesting. Whenever I hear about climate change starting in the 1880s, I'm blown away. As Seanan put it, so much warning, so little heeding. It's crazy. We're crazy, us humans.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Chapter 3 - I readily admit I'm not an especially active nature enthusiast kind of person, but Kolbert has convinced me I should at least travel a bit locally to see some glaciers - while it's still possible to do so.

Recently watched a thing on tv about how people around the world eat, and Iceland was declared the absolutely healthiest - came to mind when reading about the 80 year old member of the Icelandic glacial society (or... whatever its name was, can't remember exactly) and his 107 year old mother, heh.

Very strong sense of all the angry paragraphs behind the dead-pan comment at the end about how even in the face of the science and observations presented at the conference, some still deny the human impact on global warming. Ugh.


message 14: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Yes, if you can go see some you totally should! Now I really want to do some travelling to make up for it. Also, the fact that Britain is going to cool down while the rest of the world heats up...I shouldn't be bitter, global warming is terrible, but ugh so typical of Britain.

Yes! Icelandic's clearly have something going for them, and I imagine brisk, cold air helps out with that. The American thing, about being careful of the wording in the proposal, struck me as something that must be frustrating as hell. To keep this political when it is so clearly social and global, and will be catastrophic in the generations to come, seems...so. I can't think of the word. Self-involved, perhaps? Very politician-y, anyway. As if pussyfooting around is going to help anyone but themselves these days. Hmph.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Cold has been good to Britain before, though! (In the context of black death and other infectious disease outbreaks that have been slowed and stalled by winters, anyway. But that's the other book I'm reading.)

How's the book going for you? I've got about 100 pages left and could get through it on time - but we can extend the read too, if that's preferable.

(There's been some great chapters with paleoclimatology and stuff - but the emotional response to the facts of it all is, as predicted, draining. Repeatedly!)


message 16: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) I'm a bit behind because I've had a bit of hectic end of the month (my now ex is in the process of moving out) and my Kindle app is no longer working on my computer, which is how I usually read these days.

BUT, I will endeavour to finish it today anyway. Just got to spend the whole day reading - and what a shame that'll be. I look forward to the emotional drain.

Also, the mosquito couple are like the coolest.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Yes! I'm so in awe every time I hear about people who've specialized in... very specific things. (And then meeting someone else in the same weirdly narrow field!)

Please take whatever time you need! I'll try to gather some thoughts on the chapters once I get through the last one.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments I'm being a terrible buddy-reader for this one - sorry! It was an interesting and mostly entertaining book, that I rated 3 rather than 4 mostly because I'm crotchety and some of the chapters felt a bit unfocused. And since I didn't make notes throughout, I find myself a bit overwhelmed by trying to do so now, so - I won't. :p

But, stuff at the top of my head:

* Mosquito people and butterflies and stuff! Absolute visible evidence of global warming shaping evolution already. Amazed by adaptability of life forms, saddened by probable futility of effort. (Also interested in reading material about ongoing change/improvement in lab animal ethics stuff, like the thing with the mosquitoes who needed fresh blood to procreate.)

* Akkad! And Mayan climate game-changers! I loved this bit. Never even thought about paleoclimatology as a separate field of study before, but, duh, dinosaurs and everything. Weird and wonderful how there could be written accounts of a disastrous drought, misinterpreted for such a long time as 'just poetry!'.

* Alternate energy source speculation. I think I'd like to read more in this direction, too. Just because it's very interesting to see what people who know stuff suggest could be done. Like solar panels in space, I like that one.

* The Samsø initiative in Denmark. Cool! I didn't even know that was a thing. It's my impression that Danes are a lot more aware and selective about organic groceries and generally energy-saving behaviour than, uh, most Norwegians. (Well, on the 'visible as a common and popular trend' level, anyway. Which isn't the whole picture at all, but exposure to ideas matter a lot.) But I wonder about background noise levels in a town full of wind turbines.

* The Kyoto Protocol / American politics bit. (I added Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming to my TBR.) Ugh. Had to take angry shower.


message 19: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Eh, I'll stop hoping I'll finish it right this second and admit I'll probably take another week-ish with it at this rate!

The Akkad story/history has been my favourite so far! And it sounded like almost a socialist empire? Huh.

The chunk thing sounds...practical, but as someone else in the book says - it's only practical if we gave a shit, which no one really seems to. Particularly politicians. Although I don't understand enough about the carbon catching by pushing it underground thing, to know how good that would be for the Earth really? Like, while we're not sure, I would like to see educated speculation on its effects and the long term practicality before I'm on board. Though, at the same time, I guess anything is better than just pumping crap loads of CO2 into the atmosphere?

Will let you know as I finish each chapter. I'm almost 50% in.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Yeah, the wedge/chunk stuff was... probably a practical way to think about it, but, yeah, only if people actually want to think about it. If/when someone does start making greater efforts, it's just as likely they'll, well, invent their own language for it.

Carbon catching does sound a bit spooky - hopefully less so to the people advocating it. I wish more of the chapter had been spent explaining if/how it's actually a good thing.


message 21: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Finished this a couple of days ago, but I'm in Estonia at the moment with only my phone for Internet. I'll update this, and what I think of Goblin Emperor, tomorrow afternoon/evening when I'm back! Sorry for the delay, haven't been able to get much reading done.


Karina (karinargh) | 237 comments Estonia! I hope it's fun! And no problem at all, reading time/pace/whatev is always unpredictable. (And universally respected as such, or so I need to believe, or buddy read things would just be a huge anxiety meltdown...!)


message 23: by Lulu (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (robotwitch) Yes! My first time in any of the Baltic states, but it was lovely.

SO. Pretty appropriate reading in a country where the winters are getting less dry and slushier.

I don't know if it's because I read it the day after the wedding was so pretty exhausted, but I found the final part a little eh, drier than the rest, so I kept almost-falling-asleep after about 2 hours of reading. It was interesting, but it just wasn't as bright or as interesting as the other parts. Maybe it says more about my attention span than the book though. Though, I did find The Sixth Extinction to be similar: it got drier and less fun near the end.

The Samsø initiative in Denmark is another thing I now want to go visit, because it sounds like an *amazing* thing to be part of. I'm also going to look into this under however-many watts thing (agh, tired brain has forgot the number) to see how practical it is. Probably something to aspire to rather than actually abide by because I like travel too much to stop flying for now :/
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The American politics bit made me want to either scream or cry. The whole wanting the same policies to apply to developing country is just a way to strongarm their way out of these things, while not having to admit they couldn't care less about global warming. Blah blah blah. Going to add that book too because it looks sufficiently angry-making. As a smoker, as well, it will probably result in some serious cognitive dissonance, whoo.

Also, was cool to look at everything 10 years on so she could reflect on how everything has change.

Seems to me from this book and from documentaries I've seen on the subject, everyone things that the extreme predictions are ridiculous, and they almost always seem to end up too conservative. We really need to learn from that :/


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