CHARACTERS Å Fire and Ice

CHARACTERS ï REFLECTIONSLISBURNLTD.CO.UK ´ Jonathan Mingle

CHARACTERS ï REFLECTIONSLISBURNLTD.CO.UK ´ Jonathan Mingle Ontributor to global warming after carbon dioxide It's also a key ingredient of the air pollution that public health experts regard as humanity's greatest environmental health risk worldwide soot laden smoke from household hearth fires and outdoor sources combine to kill over seven million people around the world every year Jonathan Mingle describes the joys and struggles of daily life in the Zanskar Valley where villagers are buffeted by powerful environmental and economic forces while also tracing black carbon's dark fingerprints outward from Kumik and around the world Mingle investigates its impacts on snow ice and water from Mt Everest to California and the silent health epidemic it fuels from New York to. When I think of a book on global warming and specifically black carbon I don't think of an enjoyable narrative However in Jonathan Mingle's Fire and Ice Mingle is able to do just that He weaves an intriguing story of the people of Kumik high in the Himalayas with the impact of black carbon on global warming Mingle writes with a charming conversational tone that helped draw me into his story of over a decade of visits to Kumik This writing style makes all of the science that so often dries out other books tolerableI confess that knowing uite a bit about black carbon and being well informed on climate change I opened the 400 page book wondering how Mingle was going to fill it Unfortunately Mingle does this by filling the pages with different iterations of only a few points at times restating the exact same anecdote or statistic It is possible that Mingle did this to drive home points however it becomes uit tiresomeAll in all Fire and Ice is a brilliant insight into the impact of climate change on a strikingly different culture Following Kumik's population was enjoyable and what kept me turning pages However I think the Mingle could have said the same thing in 100 pages lessRecommended reading to those interested and new to the science of black carbon and climate change

FREE READ Fire and Ice

CHARACTERS Å Fire and Ice ↠ High in the Himalayan valley of Zanskar in northwest India sits a village as isolated as the legendary Shangri La Long fed by runoff from glaciers and lofty snowfields Kumik a settlement of thirty nine mud brick homes has survived and thrived in one of the world's most challenging settings for a thousand years But now its peop New Delhi Combining cultural history detailed reportage climate and energy science and dramatic storytelling Fire and Ice is a profound examination of the global challenges of averting climate chaos and lifting billions out of energy poverty and water scarcity Can Kumik's people come together to reinvent fire harness what remains of their life sustaining ice and reinvigorate their traditions of solidarity in time to save themselves Can the rest of us rise to the same challenge Fire and Ice connects these uestions with the work of enterprising scientists engineers entrepreneurs and activists around the world in a narrative that combines mythology reason humor persistence and hope in a race against a global cloc. The book was great Jon does a great job of weaving together two main themes the science of black carbon warming the planet and the lives and culture of a village in the Zanskar valley of northern India He works hard to make the science of short lived climate forces mostly emphasizing black carbon accessible throughout the book and is effective in communicating the scope of the issue and also some of the actions available to combat it By interweaving the narrative of Kumik he avoids preaching or lecturing on the science You really fall in love with the village just as it is clear Jon did throughout his many visits Perhaps the most amazing thing is that he also brings to bear a lot of insights on related climatology geology glaciology geography sociology etc The book is filled with historical uotes about the region and about the science as well as literary and cultural references

Jonathan Mingle ´ 1 CHARACTERS

Fire and IceHigh in the Himalayan valley of Zanskar in northwest India sits a village as isolated as the legendary Shangri La Long fed by runoff from glaciers and lofty snowfields Kumik a settlement of thirty nine mud brick homes has survived and thrived in one of the world's most challenging settings for a thousand years But now its people confront an existential threat chronic crippling drought which leaves the village canal dry and threatens to end their ancient culture of farming and animal husbandry Fire and Ice weaves together the story of Kumik's inspiring response to this calamity with the story of black carbon Black carbon from inefficient fires the particulate residue that makes soot dark is the second largest c. Raises a lot of important issues but it's overly long and very repetitive at times More complete review to comeComplete reviewI have such conflicted feelings about this book I learned a lot from it and I think it was an extremely worthwhile read that taught me a lot about an aspect of climate change I really knew nothing about Environmental issues are important to me and I try to be a good citizen by reducing my carbon footprint but I was very surprised to learn how much damage black carbon inflicts on the planet It certainly made me view things like a casual bonfire in a whole new lightThe most impressive thing about this book though is how it takes a fascinating unfamiliar cultural history and weaves into it a larger message about unintended conseuences and the effects of globalization and modernization on not just our planet but the people living on it The true strength of the book is Mingle's argument that saving the planet isn't just some abstract idea it's something that's of real importance to people who are forced to take the brunt of what's damaging our planet It's one thing for Westerners to fret about it and drive electric cars but it's uite different for people who rely on snow melt to bring them the water they need to sustain life I can think of plenty of Americans who would shrug and wonder why disappearing glaciers are a big deal yet millions of people depend on those glaciers to ensure their survival It was incredibly sad to me to read about how the people of Kumik will have to change a way of life that's the only one they've known for over a thousand years because climate change is impacting them in such a personal visceral mannerThis book also made me uncomfortable which I think is a good thing because it made me aware of my privilege something we relatively affluent Westerners sometimes lose sight of Eating organic and shopping at Whole Foods is all well and good but Mingle does an excellent job of exploring the clash between developed and developing parts of the world Especially cogent I thought was his pointed commentary about how Westerners lament the detrimental effects of pollution and then turn around and snap up the cheap goods that are the very reason for much of the pollution generated by manufacturing After all those of us in the developed world have already reaped the benefits of industrialization To say it's hypocritical of us to tell people in the developing world Stop you're ruining our planet is putting it far far too mildly The fact is that we do live on this one world together and have to figure out some way of preserving it for the benefit of all but we do not have the right to demand it be done in a way that's detrimental to people in developing countries The real problem as Mingle illustrates it is in finding ways in which to continue the development in these countries but to do so in a way that makes the planet a safer and healthier environment for all Unfortunately this is a uestion that doesn't seem to much interest many Western nations because of a what's in it for us mentalityReading about the health effects of wood and dung burning stoves was chilling and I really empathized with the people who depend on this method to heat their homes and cook their food What a privilege to not have to worry about making the choice between poisoning my family's lungs and putting food in their bellies It's an unthinkable Catch 22 that these people have no choice but to do the thing that's slowly destroying their way of life As Mingle points out this is an aspect of the climate change argument about which Westerners don't seem to worry much or at least not as much as we should There are real human lives at stake yet these health issues tend to be brushed aside in favor of academic concerns Debating about greenhouse gases is a debate worth having but far important is facing the reality of how many people are sickened and die as a result of air pollutionYet even as I admired all this about the book I simply found it exhausting Some of this is due to a lot of repetition These problems bears repeating but sometimes the book says the exact same thing it said only a few pages ago This happens on several occasions and it left me feeling like the book could have used some judicious editing cutting out facts already presented in order to make the book shorter and impactfulIn addition some parts of it left me feeling as though the author was trying a little too hard to drive home his point when the information he provides needs no embellishment Unadorned it's plenty chilling and compelling However once an example has been provided and then another and then another the mind tends to reach the point of over saturation and I felt like I simply couldn't process devastating information It took me nearly a month to read this book not because I'm a slow reader but because I found it all very hard to take It's a book that's certainly worth reading but may be best taken in small doses