The Story of More by Hope Jahren

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Hope Jahren, “The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here”
English | ISBN: 0525563385 | 2020 | EPUB | 224 pages | 6 MB

“Hope Jahren is the voice that science has been waiting for.” —Nature

“A superb account of the deadly struggle between humanity and what may prove the only life-bearing planet within ten light years, written in a brilliantly sardonic and conversational style.” —E. O. Wilson

“Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and—above all—essential.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist, a brilliant writer, a passionate teacher, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. In The Story of More, she illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles—that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming—from superstorms to rising sea levels—and the actions that we all can take to fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of global change and a lively, personal narrative given to us in Jahren’s inimitable voice, The Story of More is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.

mportant men have been arguing about global change since before I was born.

Almost ninety years ago, the guy who invented the light bulb urged renewable energy on the guy who invented the car and the guy who invented the tire. I imagine they nodded politely, finished their drinks, and went straight back to motorizing the planet. During the decades that followed, the Ford Motor Company manufactured and sold more than three hundred million motor vehicles that burned upward of ten billion barrels of oil and required a minimum of 1.2 billion tires, also partially made from oil.

But that’s not all. Back in 1969, the Norwegian explorer Bernt Balchen noticed a thinning trend in the ice that covered the North Pole. He warned his colleagues that the Arctic Ocean was melting into an open sea and that this could change weather patterns such that farming would become impossible in North America ten to twenty years hence. The New York Times picked up the story, and Balchen was promptly shouted down by Walter Whittmann of the U.S. Navy, who had seen no evidence of thinning during his monthly airplane flights over the pole.

As is the case with most scientists most of the time, Balchen was both right and wrong in his claims. By 1999, the submarines that had been cruising the Arctic Ocean since the 1950s could clearly see that polar sea ice had thinned drastically during the twentieth century—thinned by almost half. Nevertheless, it’s been fifty years since Balchen graced the pages of the Times and American agriculture has yet to feel the full effect of any melting. Which, technically, means that Whittmann was also both wrong and right.

We shouldn’t be surprised when scientists are wrong. All human beings are a lot better at describing what is happening than at predicting what will happen. Somewhere along the way, however, we began to hope that scientists were different—that they could be right all the time. And because they’re not, we kind of stopped listening. By now we’re quite practiced at not listening to things scientists say over and over again.

For example, giving up fossil fuels is not a new suggestion. Starting in 1956, a geologist named M. King Hubbert who worked for Shell Oil started writing passionately about America’s need to embrace nuclear energy before our “inevitable exhaustion of fossil fuels.” Hubbert believed that mining uranium from the bedrock of Colorado was more sustainable than burning oil and coal, which he reckoned would hit peak production by the years 2000 and 2150, respectively. He was both wrong and right.

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