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Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming

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In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come. In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural wor In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come. In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce the pizzly, climate change is more likely to wipe out species than to create them. Plants and animals that have followed the same rhythms for millennia are suddenly being confronted with a world they’re unprepared for—and adaptation usually isn’t an option. This is not the first time climate change has dramatically transformed Earth. Barnosky draws connections between the coming centuries and the end of the last ice age, when mass extinctions swept the planet. The differences now are that climate change is faster and hotter than past changes, and for the first time humanity is driving it. Which means this time we can work to stop it. No one knows exactly what nature will come to look like in this new age of global warming. But Heatstroke gives us a haunting portrait of what we stand to lose and the vitality of what can be saved.


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In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come. In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural wor In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come. In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce the pizzly, climate change is more likely to wipe out species than to create them. Plants and animals that have followed the same rhythms for millennia are suddenly being confronted with a world they’re unprepared for—and adaptation usually isn’t an option. This is not the first time climate change has dramatically transformed Earth. Barnosky draws connections between the coming centuries and the end of the last ice age, when mass extinctions swept the planet. The differences now are that climate change is faster and hotter than past changes, and for the first time humanity is driving it. Which means this time we can work to stop it. No one knows exactly what nature will come to look like in this new age of global warming. But Heatstroke gives us a haunting portrait of what we stand to lose and the vitality of what can be saved.

30 review for Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Even though this was a bit of a slow read for me, I still enjoyed it. I didn't ever think that plate tectonics would have an effect on climate change. I also found it interesting reading about the Irish Elk. It was nice to read about Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone. I also enjoyed reading about the trips people made to various parts of the world to assess climate, and I seem to have found an explanation why the place where I stay where the past winter wasn't so cold, very interesting. Even though this was a bit of a slow read for me, I still enjoyed it. I didn't ever think that plate tectonics would have an effect on climate change. I also found it interesting reading about the Irish Elk. It was nice to read about Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone. I also enjoyed reading about the trips people made to various parts of the world to assess climate, and I seem to have found an explanation why the place where I stay where the past winter wasn't so cold, very interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ERIN SCHMIDT

    I would recommend this book on the potential effects of global warming to anyone. It's simply a good summary of a wide variety of data from different sciences, organized in a way that makes sense to us non-scientists. It's a little depressing, some of the scenarios that could take place if our species doesn't get global warming under control in the next 10-20 years. Still, when we're armed with information, then we can make informed choices. If you know people who are global warming/climate chan I would recommend this book on the potential effects of global warming to anyone. It's simply a good summary of a wide variety of data from different sciences, organized in a way that makes sense to us non-scientists. It's a little depressing, some of the scenarios that could take place if our species doesn't get global warming under control in the next 10-20 years. Still, when we're armed with information, then we can make informed choices. If you know people who are global warming/climate change deniers, read the chapter on the Milankovic cycles so you'll be armed with good information on why this period of climate change is different from past periods of climate change. I got this book when it was offered free on BarnesAndNoble.com. I was not obligated to review it in any way. This is just my own honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Interesting to see a non-fiction book from a mainstream publisher turn up on the free lists. I read the first three chapters and enjoyed them, but probably won't get around to reading the rest since I have more relevant non-fiction waiting on my attention. The parts I did read were well-written, but left me with that "what are we supposed to do about it?" taste in my mouth. Plus, I suddenly wanted to read a whole book on how gardening and farming will change due to climate change. Maybe I should Interesting to see a non-fiction book from a mainstream publisher turn up on the free lists. I read the first three chapters and enjoyed them, but probably won't get around to reading the rest since I have more relevant non-fiction waiting on my attention. The parts I did read were well-written, but left me with that "what are we supposed to do about it?" taste in my mouth. Plus, I suddenly wanted to read a whole book on how gardening and farming will change due to climate change. Maybe I should skip to the end and read his conclusion?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karenbike Patterson

    Very good info about how nature, ecosystems and species will change over the next 60 years at best case and worst case scenarios. There is a good list at the end of simple things we all can do to make a difference.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate Roark

    This is an excellent book about the effects that climate change is having on nature right now. Very interesting and thought-provoking.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Teri Zipf

    I began this read a few chapters, and it seemed interesting, but ultimately I can't stand to be depressed night after night. I began this read a few chapters, and it seemed interesting, but ultimately I can't stand to be depressed night after night.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Good information, but pretty dry. Had to be read in small chunks!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Good book that explains how global warming affects so much more than you think. But a lot of figures and scientific data.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    To quote Bender from Futurama: Well, we're boned. To quote Bender from Futurama: Well, we're boned.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Parkes

  12. 5 out of 5

    Farzaneh Ghobadi

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paula Tucker

  15. 5 out of 5

    DoubleM

  16. 4 out of 5

    Noel

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hilary Chan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jerry W Stachowski

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Mack

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard Fitzgerald

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Pappas

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Judi Fisher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

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