Global Warming, Digested A review of Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming by Andrew Weaver, Ph.D.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, writer, or curious individual, an easy-to-digest guide to global warming can be handy to have around. Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming (Rapid Reads) (Raven Books) by climate scientist Andrew Weaver, Ph.D., a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, is a book that explains global warming science, and the scientific terms needed to understand it, much like a smart and patient friend might. Weaver begins by outlining just how scientists arrive at knowledge of the natural world via the scientific method. It’s a useful starting place, particularly as an antidote to global warming skepticism, which overlooks the fact that in the case of global warming (and other less-controversial natural phenomena) “science seeks to develop the understanding of a particular phenomenon that explains all known observations of it.” In simple language that would function well in explaining the basics to child, the book breaks down the difference between climate and weather, and how scientists arrive at predictions for both. Are these predictions always correct? No, Weaver answers. Rather, he writes: “It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as proof in any field of science…If an existing theory or law can’t explain a new observation, the theory or law has to be modified.”
He goes on to detail the observations related to global warming that indicate worrisome long-term impacts. There is the more than doubling of the warming of the Earth’s surface air temperature over the last 30 years; the releasing of greenhouse gases from ice as a result of warming temperatures; the steady increase in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide; and with these constants, the changes to the ecosystem. Sea levels are rising; precipitation patterns are growing more pronounced, increasing floods, droughts and extreme storms; shell-bearing ocean creatures like corals, oysters and lobsters are declining as ocean chemistry changes. Weaver does not flinch from the dramatic consequences of continued climate change, nor does he waver from his balanced, apolitical discussion of each topic in turn. At under 120 pages, Generation Us is a slim volume packed with up-to-date information on the climate crisis that ends by offering solutions, from embracing high-tech answers to moving beyond fossil fuels to changing our consumption habits.