Mark Lynas, 'High Tide: News from a Warming World'

IssueJune - August 2004
Review by Melanie Jarman

High Tide is the result of three years spent travelling the world in search of evidence that climate change is taking place now.

Lynas's travels include the experience of ducking England's increasingly excessive downpours; surveying the damage of melting permafrost whilst gathering local opinion on the oil industry in “baked” Alaska; and sealing all windows as unprecedented dust storms whirl in China.

Alongside excellent photos, Lynas's stories show that climate change is already having a considerable impact on how people go about living their lives, in some cases even threatening the continued existence of whole communities.

In making these stories accessible to anyone smart enough to pick up his book, Lynas sends out a wake-up call to those who would deny the need for action. The stories that Lynas finds are compelling, moving, and consistently interwoven with the latest scientific evidence.

While being clear about the contribution that human activity makes to accelerating climate change, Lynas does not set out to berate his readers.

His conclusion is to “put forward some sort of manifesto for how we might begin to find a way out of this crisis together” and his beautiful prose inspires, as it suggests steps that could be taken by government, industry and individuals. His final emphasis is that though the situation is critical it is not yet irredeemable.

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