If we’re going to avoid a climate disaster, we need to find better ways to do pretty much everything.
Climate change is a big problem—one of the biggest we’ll face this century—but it’s not the only environmental concern on the horizon. Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more. Kolbert, a staff writer at The New Yorker, makes a compelling case that all this activity is leading to the sixth mass extinction in the Earth’s history. Think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs—only this time the cataclysm is man-made. Unlike a lot of people who write about the environment, Kolbert doesn’t resort to hype. She just lays out the facts and wraps them in memorable anecdotes. It’s a sobering but engaging and informative read.