The front page of Friday's Arts section featured a review by Dwight Garner of the new book "Cold - Adventures in the World's Frozen Places," by biologist Bill Streever. The story'sheadline is a giveaway that Garner will use the book to push apocalyptic global warming fear: "Chilly Treks in a Melting World ."
Garner says to expect no more cold days in the future, and perhaps not many more days at all, thanks to global warming:
We are living in a rapidly warming world, Mr. Streever mournfully writes. This fact is his excuse to visit as many of the planet's remaining cold places as he can, if not exactly to say goodbye then to consider the intrinsic nature of cold weather and our responses to it, and to think about what life will be like in its increasing absence.
The book ends the only way it probably can, with its author staring up to the sky and observing, "Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, thanks to coal and oil and natural gas, thanks to more than six hundred million cars and trucks and buses, spring is fading into hothouse summer on planet earth." The end of our species seems far more likely to arrive by fire than by ice.
"Cold" is a striding tour through a disappearing world. Mr. Streever's prose does what E. L. Doctorow said good writing is supposed to do, which is to evoke sensation in the reader - "not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." This book is chilling in too many ways to count.