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Adirondack Explorer

March, 2011

Deep Future The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth
Author: Curt Stager

Review by: Philip Terrie

Most books on climate begin with the last couple of centuries—the Industrial Revolution and the onset of massive emissions of carbon dioxide—and then move to what remains of the twenty-first century. In Deep Future, Curt Stager looks at millennia, thousands of millennia, back toward the very origins of life and forward for over a hundred thousand years. Stager is a professor at Paul Smith’s College and a paleoecologist; he studies ancient environments, through pollen samples, fossils, and other vestiges of past life. This gives him the “long view,” an understanding that over vast eons, life on earth and the environment >>More


November, 2010

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love
Author: Kristin Kimball

Review by: Philip Terrie

KRISTIN KIMBALL’S The Dirty Life is the story of an urban, highly educated woman and how she moved to the Adirondacks and learned to be a farmer. Instead of worrying about commuting and her 401K, now she thinks about the weather and whether the hogs are warm enough. This profound shift in priorities puts her in touch with a way of living and thinking that most Americans know nothing about, but these are “the kind of thoughts that have occupied the majority of the human race—the agrarians—for most of the history of the world.” She and her husband, Mark, operate >>More


September, 2010

The Nature of New York An Environmental History of the Empire State
Author: David Stradling

Review by: Philip Terrie

TOO OFTEN we think about the history of the Adirondacks without considering its context. We know something about the dramatic events of the 1880s and 1890s—including the establishment of the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Park and the constitutional protection of the Forest Preserve— and we recall the equally important creation of the Adirondack Park Agency and the tortured story of the Private Land Use and Development Plan. But do we grasp the relationship between the Adirondacks and the state’s urban and commercial centers, especially, of course, with the megalopolis at the mouth of the Hudson River? The resources of the >>More


July, 2010

Climate Change in the Champlain Basin
Author: Curt Stager and Mary Thill

Review by: Philip Terrie

The Nature Conservancy recently published Climate Change in the Champlain Basin,which reviews weather records and other data and looks ahead to what’s in store for this century. Written by scientist Curt Stager and journalist Mary Thill, the study says the basin in recent years has seen higher temperatures, more rainfall, and later and less-frequent freeze-ups of Lake Champlain. It predicts that the annual mean temperature could rise anywhere from one to eleven degrees by the end of this century. You can download the study by going to the Nature Conservancy website (www.nature.org) and navigating to the Vermont or Adirondacks page.


July, 2010

Eaarth Making Life on a Tough New Planet
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: Philip Terrie

BILL MCKIBBEN has been trying to warn us about the apocalyptic threat of climate change for two decades, ever since The End of Nature in 1990. As a writer, activist, and citizen of our beleaguered planet, he has done the best that one smart and caring man can do to get us to pay attention to the runaway freight train careening toward us. We didn’t listen, and global warming is no longer a threat; it’s a reality. The average planetary temperature is up, as is total rainfall, with more violent thunderstorms. There’s drought in Australia and the American Southwest. Mountain >>More


July, 2010

Climate Change in the Adirondacks The Path to Sustainability
Author: Jerry Jenkins

Review by: Philip Terrie

FOR AT LEAST TWO DECADES, we’ve known that the global climate is warming, that efforts to stop this trend are grossly inadequate, and that the future is uncertain at best, catastrophic at worst. We know that we need to kick the fossil-fuel addiction. We also know that even if we did this today and released not another molecule of CO2 into the atmosphere the temperature will still go up. Usually, we think about this looming disaster—when we think about it at all—in planetary terms: warming global temperatures, shrinking polar ice shelves, a rising and acidifying ocean. With his characteristically uncanny >>More


January, 2010

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
Author: Douglas Brinkley

Review by: By Philip Terrie

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, a history professor at Rice University, is a prodigiously productive author or coauthor of an amazing array of best-selling books on a wide range of topics, from the Cold War, espionage, and hurricane Katrina to lives of Ronald Reagan, Henry Ford, and Rosa Parks, among many others. His latest is a huge (817 pages, not counting notes and index), eminently readable study of the environmental accomplishments and attitudes of Theodore Roosevelt. Perhaps he writes too many books and too fast, however. For this one, at least so far as the Adirondacks is concerned, is replete with annoying errors. >>More


September, 2008

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: PHILIP TERRIE

The written word has been fundamental to the story of how Americans have interacted with the natural world. Nature writing comes in a diverse range of genres, from travel and exploration narratives to poetry, from the literature of contemplation and reflection to polemics. In a new anthology, American Earth, editor Bill McKibben has collected the subgenre of nature writing that he calls the “literature of American environmentalism.” His selections are largely about conflict, about people challenging the status quo, raising an alarm. Environmental writing shares with nature writing the awe for and delight in nature’s wonders, but it also displays >>More


July, 2008

Conservation Easements and Biodiversity in the Northern Forest Region
Author: Jerry Jenkins

Review by: PHILIP TERRIE

Ecologist Jerry Jenkins has emerged as one of our most articulate advocates for a rigorous application of science to understanding the Adirondack environment and planning for its future. Now, with his characteristic thoroughness, precision and stylistic panache, Jenkins has teamed up with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Open Space Institute to produce a report on conservation easements. Conservation Easements and Biodiversity in the Northern Forest Region builds on Jenkins’s previous work (The Adirondack Atlas, 2004, and Acid Rain in the Adirondacks, 2007) and expands his ken to the entire Northern Forest region, which stretches from New York’s Tug Hill >>More


May, 2008

The Bill McKibben Reader
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: PHILIP TERRIE

Bill McKibben, fresh out of Harvard, where he was editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper, landed a job as a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1982. Early in his career, while grinding out pieces for “The Talk of the Town” section of the magazine, he began to emphasize the “physicalness of the world,” the fact that everything “depended on nature and consumed it for its existence.” Awarded a six-week fellowship at a writers’ retreat in Blue Mountain Lake, he “fell in love with winter and with wilderness.” His attachment to our “wild mountains was so intense and instant” >>More