Those who doubt the severity of climate change will persist, but for the fact-minded, Otto’s arguments are incontrovertible.



Because of human actions, the climate is changing—and not for the better. So argues Otto, whose work is at the forefront of climate science.

Whatever else we might know, or think we know, about the climate, “every weather event takes place under different environmental conditions than those of 250 years ago,” writes Otto, director of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. Unpacking that, the 250-year cutoff roughly coincides with King George III’s awarding of a patent to James Watt for the steam engine, which would soon give birth to the Industrial Revolution—and with it the greenhouse gases that are steadily warming the atmosphere. Commanding a vast body of data, Otto observes that the “seven hottest years [in recorded history] have all taken place within the last decade.” Because we are in the middle of this change, we suffer from observational bias: We know it’s hot, but we keep at our normal affairs. Meanwhile, this rising heat has different effects in different places. More heat means more atmospheric moisture but also quicker evaporation, so that some places will be flooded and others will suffer from drought. The big-picture effects are predictable, writes the author, but we must look beyond those “large-scale averages” to consider the effects of climate change on a storm-by-storm, drought-by-drought basis. Throughout the narrative, Otto intersperses glimpses of that big picture with a major case study: Hurricane Harvey, which in 2017 did nearly as much damage as Hurricane Katrina a dozen years earlier, dropping 41 inches of rain in just three days. Along the way, the author considers the concurrent effects of leaders of government and industry who have stymied research. She has an answer: “If governments don’t do their job and don’t do enough to put a stop to climate change, then courts can remind them of their purpose.”

Those who doubt the severity of climate change will persist, but for the fact-minded, Otto’s arguments are incontrovertible.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77164-614-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Greystone Books

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.


The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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