under a white sky: the nature of thefuture (elizabeth kolbert)

this was not a happy read. kolbert runs through an interesting collection of examples where humankind has altered the ecosystem so significantly that heroic efforts are required to preserve a species or to forestall what appears to be eminant disaster. examples explored here include coral reefs, the pupfish in the desert and a reasonably detailed discussion around geo-engineering in the interests of addressing climate change. both in the form of carbon capture and with stratospheric particle injection.

stepping back, i don’t know that i picked up anything particularly notable here, other than to note that we’re increasingly in the position of having to actively maintain/generate an artificial environment to keep things “the same”. the pupfish example was new and a useful level set/reminder that we have species increasingly dependent on us to survive because we screwed things up so dramatically for them.

kolbert explicitly doesn’t do you the solid of ending on a happy note either. fair enough, she wraps up the book a year into COVID and on the tail end of the trump administration. not a high point for science or faith in humanity.