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  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925459
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $29.99

Under a White Sky

The Nature of the Future




The author of the international bestseller The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity's transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

'Important, necessary, urgent and phenomenally interesting' HELEN MACDONALD, New York Times

ONE OF THE SUNDAY TIMES 'BOOKS OF 2021'

The author of the international bestseller The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity's transformative impact on the environment, now asking: after doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

Elizabeth Kolbert has become one of the most important writers on the environment. Now she investigates the immense challenges humanity faces as we scramble to reverse, in a matter of decades, the effects we've had on the atmosphere, the oceans, the world's forests and rivers - on the very topography of the globe.

In Under a White Sky, she takes a hard look at the new world we are creating. Along the way, she meets biologists who are trying to preserve the world's rarest fish, which lives in a single tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave desert; engineers who are turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland; Australian researchers who are trying to develop a 'super coral' that can survive on a hotter globe; and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth, changing the sky from blue to white.
One way to look at human civilisation, says Kolbert, is as a ten-thousand-year exercise in defying nature. In The Sixth Extinction, she explored the ways in which our capacity for destruction has reshaped the natural world. Now she examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperilled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation. By turns inspiring, terrifying and darkly comic, Under a White Sky is an utterly original examination of the challenges we face.

  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925459
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $29.99

Praise for Under a White Sky

A terrific look at humanity's impact on the Earth (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Bill Gates

A wonderful book (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Barack Obama

This is the big story of our age (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Sunday Times

Well-composed snapshots of history, theory and observation that will fascinate, enlighten and appal many readers (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Guardian

A distinctive and eloquent voice of conscience... timely, meticulously researched and well-written (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Al Gore, New York Times

Compelling (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Observer

Remarkable (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Sunday Telegraph

Read this book (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Independent

Elizabeth Kolbert's cautionary tale, The Sixth Extinction, offers us a cogent overview of a harrowing biological challenge. The reporting is exceptional, the contextualizing exemplary (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon

The Sixth Mass Extinction is the biggest story on Earth, period, and Elizabeth Kolbert tells it with imagination, rigor, deep reporting, and a capacious curiosity about all the wondrous creatures and ecosystems that exist, or have existed, on our planet. The result is an important book full of love and loss (praise for: The Sixth Extinction)

David Quammen, author of The Song of the Dodo and Spillover

A master elucidator, Kolbert is gratifyingly direct as she assesses our predicament between a rock and a hard place, creating a clarion and invaluable 'book about people trying to solve problems created by people trying to solve problems

Booklist

Every paragraph of Kolbert's books has a mountain of reading and reporting behind it.... Urgent, absolutely necessary reading as a portrait of our devastated planet

Kirkus Review

Brilliantly executed and urgently necessary

Publishers Weekly

Our finest journalist on climate change

Chicago Tribune

This intimate natural history is both a sober assessment of the ecosystems we have harmed and an exciting description of some of the discoveries that could help undo that damage

Scientific American

A tale not of magic-bullet remedies where maybe this time things will be different when we intervene in nature, but rather of deploying a panoply of strategies big and small in hopes that there is still time to make a difference and atone for our past. A sobering and realistic look at humankind's perhaps misplaced faith that technology can work with nature to produce a more liveable planet

Library Journal

Kolbert's prose is peppered with...mordant observations, which bring out the humanity (or animality) in her subjects

Ben Cooke, The Times

Riveting... inspiring... the premier chronicler of humanity's thoughtless destruction of our habitat

Washington Post

One of the great science journalists, Kolbert has for many years been an essential voice, a reporter from the front lines of the environmental crisis... Important, necessary, urgent and phenomenally interesting... Beautifully and insistently, Kolbert shows us that it is time to think radically about the ways we manage the environment; time to work with what we have, using the knowledge we have, with our eyes fully open to the realities of where we are

HELEN MACDONALD, New York Times

Under a White Sky... exhibits Kolbert's sculptor-like skill for making climate change feel tangible, happening before our eyes and beneath our fingers

Matt Reynolds, Wired

A meticulously researched and deftly crafted work of journalism that explores some of the biggest challenges of our age

Jonathan Watts, Guardian

Skilful and subtle

Ben Ehrenreich, Guardian

Fascinating

Chris Fitch, Geographical

To be a well-informed citizen of Planet Earth, you need to read Elizabeth Kolbert. . . . It's a tribute to Kolbert's skills as a storyteller that she transforms the quest to deal with the climate crisis into a darkly comic tale of human hubris and imagination that could either end in flames or in a new vision of Paradise

Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone

A superb and honest reflection of our extraordinary time

Nature

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