In High Tide, Mark Lynas visits five continents to see the often unreported effects of climate change firsthand. He sees how Tuvalu’s Pacific paradise is gradually becoming uninhabitable as rising seawater floods the island from the inside out. He also witnesses rapid desertification and frequent dust storms in northern China; the increasing intensity of hurricanes hitting Central America and the American South; melting permafrost in Alaska; and the disappearance of glaciers in Peru, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people who depend upon them for their fresh water. Lynas brings the alarming facts alive with personal detail and humanity. While his observations in themselves don’t prove a warming world, Lynas always hooks up with the relevant scientific expert to get the low-down on the now-incontrovertible connections.
The text is well judged and not unnecessarily alarmist. However, the rate of warming is continuing to accelerate and Lynas warns that ‘the impacts described here are just the first whispers of the hurricane of climate change which is bearing down on us’. This book clearly states that climate change is now the single most important issue in the world today – its threat is immediate and all-encompassing.
As for solutions, Lynas concludes that the urgent need is for an effective international agreement that is binding on all countries but also notes the importance of individual action. We all need to face up to this problem and pledge to make a difference. Reading this book is a good place to start.Phil England
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