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High Tide: How Climate Crisis is Engulfing Our Planet: News from a Warming World [Paperback]

Mark Lynas
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Mar 2005

The No Logo of climate change – a book that shows how global warming is not a theory we should still debate, but something that has already happened on a global scale.

Climate change is not a concern for the future. It's happening right now. In this book – based on the latest scientific evidence – the author takes us around the world to show the impact of global warming already being felt in people's lives.

From sand-buried houses in China to thawing Alaskan plains, the author witnesses some of the worst effects of climate change at first hand. Some, like the floods in the UK, are near home. Others – like the drowning Pacific island of Tuvalu – are a world away from the exhaust pipes and factory chimneys that are actually causing global warming.

But this isn't simply an inventory of disaster, it's a wry look at how people around the globe are coping as their world changes at unprecedented speed. In the process, the author eats whale blubber in Alaska, swims in shark-infested waters off the Great Barrier Reef and struggles to the top of Andean peaks in Peru. An adventure with a conscience and an argument with an urgent purpose, High Tide is an extremely important book.

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High Tide: How Climate Crisis is Engulfing Our Planet: News from a Warming World + Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet + The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (7 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007139403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007139408
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 419,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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‘With High Tide, Mark Lynas has given us a tremendous gift: he has time-travelled into our terrifying collective future, a future that has already arrived in the farthest reaches of the globe. Go with him on this breathtaking, beautifully told journey – to island nations being engulfed by rising tides, to towns swallowed by encroaching desert, to glaciers melting into oceans – and I promise that you will come back changed, determined to alter the course of history.’
Naomi Klein, author of No Logo

‘Clear, lucid and informative.’ New Statesman

‘A thoroughly engaging and well-researched book.’ TLS

‘If you are among those who think climate change is an uncertain, remote issue over which scientists are unsure, politicians talk endlessly to little effect, and mere individuals have no power at all, this book may be for you … Lynas tells us to keep repeating the climate change message. Read his book, and that is exactly what you will do.’ Guardian

‘There will be many more books like High Tide, but this will be remembered as the first … it’ll be the one with the original vision … Not unworthy of comparison with Orwell and certainly the breaker of new ground.’ Independent


'There will be many more books like HIGH TIDE, but this will be remembered as the breaker of new ground.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Withdrawal symptoms 12 July 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Although many studies of climate change and its impact have been published, few count the human cost. Mark Lynas makes up for that oversight in this vividly presented account. As a journalist, he's unconstrained by the limitations of long-term data sets, political reaction to his personal findings or peer group pressure. He travels the globe, even to the point of last minute flight bookings, to observe conditions. His approach is to confront people and ask about their experiences with changing weather over the years. The method is direct, straightforward and revealing. What it demonstrates is more than startling, it's devastating.
While the scientists debate the temperature rise rate or the intensity of this or that storm, around the planet people are living through the conditions of warming climate. Tuvalu residents, on their miniscule island chain in mid-Pacific, are watching the land wash away. It isn't just that melting ice caps are raising sea levels and ruining crops. There are more frequent and more devastating storms occuring. In China, land is also moving, but the reason is the opposite - the rains have ceased and the land is dried and blowing away in fierce desert winds. The account of a lone woman, the last survivor of a village overwhelmed by drought, is more poignant [to me] than anything found in fiction. And the number of such stories is growing.
If a most gripping part of this book must be chosen, it is Lynas' tour of Peru and the Cordillera Blanca glaciers. His father, a geologist, had visited the area three decades before, camera in hand. Huge glaciers, akin to frozen waterfalls, fill the images. With those photos in his knapsack, Lynas trudges up the slopes, racked by Alititude Sickness, to record any changes.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It won't go away if you just ignore it 29 April 2004
By A Customer
So Climate Change is happening - it is destroying the world, dramatically.Lynas takes us to the places it is affecting, he endures some of thehardships it is causing, we through his excellent writing can empathise.But, we keep behaving in a way that causes Climate Change, the question iswhy? Lynas says we are in denial, that we are passive bystanders. Most ofus when we have finished reading this book will put it down and think 'Ishould do something about this, the world's governments should dosomething about this.' The reality is that nothing much will happenbecause we live in a culture that constructs needs and wants that make usbehave in a way that causes climate change. What we need is a culturalshift, so that our needs and wants are fulfilled by non-materialthings.
When you have finished Mark Lynas and you understand a bit about climatechange and why it needs to be addressed, read Status Anxiety by Alain deBotton - you might just re think what you NEED and WANT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original but Seriously Flawed 24 Aug 2008
Posibly the first book on Global Warming to leave the laboratory and actually get out to the frontline of environmental damage, this is part personal memoir part campaigning journalism. The writing is impressively good and very readable, the author has a real knack of making places come alive and giving problems a human dimension.
However books like these also need some hard science and here there are too many weaknesses. For example early on he speculates that trees may not be able to breach the urban barrier of the Northern Metropolitan areas as they are forced to migrate North in a warmer UK. A bizarre howler that reveals his misunderstanding of urban geography (Greater Manchester is not a contiguous concrete bloc), plant dispersal (surprisingly resilient) and agricultural land management (a huge number of trees have been specifially planted by landowners for many years).
More significantly he fails to consider that geological factors can ensure that islands can sink into the sea without any overall global rise in sea levels; that glaciers have been in retreat in tropical areas for over a century and even during periods when it has been generally getting colder (deforestration following local population increases are most probably to blame) and that dust storms in central Asia largely reflect bad land management (particularly but not only under centralised state farming regimes).
In short it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the author is looking for evidence of something he has decided already exists rather than generating a case from first principles. As a result the book has made me far more sceptical about global warming as a theory. Almost certainly this wasn't the author's intention but it is to his credit that he has presented his research sufficiently to allow me to draw this conclusion.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory Reading 21 Dec 2005
By R. P. Sedgwick VINE VOICE
High Tide is a simple idea brilliantly executed: to visit the far flung places around the globe most affected by global warming. Global warming to date is nowhere near as apparent in the UK and other Western countries as it is in other parts of the world - yet.
I had no doubt whatsoever after reading this book that it was only a matter of time, though, before every person on the planet is affected directly by this catastrophe unfolding in front of us, if only we could see!
The really striking thing about the book is just how many different types of country are affected in different ways. The eponymous rising sea levels are just one of a number of ways in which this problem is already affecting so many different communities. Hot countries, cold countries, dry countries and wet countries will all be devastated over the course of the next few years unless action is taken immediately.
Read it and act now!
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