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Adirondack Explorer

April, 2017

New York’s Broken Constitution
Author: Peter J. Galie, Christopher Bopst & Gerald Benjamin

Review by: Philip Terrie

The New York State Constitution is a mess. So it’s no surprise that New York’s machinery of governance—legislation, the judiciary, the formulation and enforcement of policy, state finances, the separation of powers, and so much more—is also a mess. In New York’s Broken Constitution, a (mostly) well-researched and well-written book, ten experts (a good mix of lawyers and political scientists) lay out the almost countless ways in which the New York Constitution is anachronistic and incoherent—and thus almost hopelessly divorced from the day-to-day realities of governing in a complex, twenty-first-century state. On the flaws of our constitution and on how >>More

December, 2016

How to save the world
Author: Edward O. Wilson

Review by: Philip Terrie

Edward Wilson probably knows more about ants than any single person ever has—and perhaps ever will. But the study of ants, which he has been pursuing since he was a child in Alabama during the Great Depression, is only the beginning of this polymath’s prodigious appetite for understanding how our natural world works and what our place in that world is and should be. As his command of myrmecology (ant science) grew increasingly encyclopedic, his wonder at the complexities of ant society led him to breakthrough insights about broader ecological themes, especially concerning the importance of biodiversity. (It also led >>More

July, 2016

The tale of a cougar
Author: William Stolzenburg

Review by: Philip Terrie

By PHILIP TERRIE On a snowy winter night in Lake George, in 2010, Cindy Eggleston’s motion-detecting light came on in her back yard. She looked out her kitchen window and saw a big cat. A really big cat. Her husband, a retired conservation officer, guessed that it must have been a bobcat. No, she said, “it had a long tail.” So he went out to look around. In the snow he found huge tracks and, eventually, a hair sample. DNA analysis subsequently showed that these hairs came from a cougar, an animal whose last proven presence in the Adirondacks had >>More

May, 2016

Climate deniers get it wrong
Author: Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter and S. Fred Singer

Review by: Curt Stager

BOOK REVIEW By CURT STAGER The main premise of this 106-page book is that many scientists do not believe that human-driven global warming is real because the evidence for it is deeply flawed. In reality, it is this book that is deeply flawed. The primary audience is not scientists but policy-makers, and its release last November was timed to coincide with the climate-change meeting in Paris. The Heartland Institute funds publications such as this one from the “Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC). The panel’s name is a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which summarizes peer-reviewed scientific literature. Author Craig Idso has a doctorate in geography and >>More

March, 2016

Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism
Author: Mark Stoll

Review by: Philip Terrie

Saving God’s creation Book Review by Philip Terrie In 1967, Science published an article destined to be one of the most controversial and most frequently cited ever to appear in that distinguished journal: “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” The author, Lynn White Jr., was a medieval historian, a professor at UCLA. He argued that the devastating and unsustainable exploitation of nature that began with the Industrial Revolution had its intellectual roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition, especially in the creation story in the book of Genesis. White saw the patriarchal, exploitative, frequently abusive treatment of the natural world that >>More

January, 2016

Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
Author: Pope Francis

Review by: Bill McKibben

  The pope’s green message The old conceit that the president has a “bully pulpit” needs updating; it’s clear that the pulpit at St. Peter’s Basilica is now the bulliest of all. Pope Francis may lack legions, but he has 6.3 million followers on Twitter, and for days before its official release, the world followed the leaks of his new encyclical on climate change and the environment. Laudato Si’ is a remarkable 183-page document, incredibly rich—it’s not dense, but it is studded with aphorisms and insights. A few things are immediately evident. First, simply by writing it, the pope—the single >>More

November, 2015

Celebrating our parks
Author: Ian Shive

Review by: Philip Terrie

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation creating Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first effort to set aside a large undeveloped tract, protect it solely for its scenic and natural appeal, and make it available to the public. Exactly what Grant and the Congress had in mind for Yellowstone was unclear, as was whose responsibility it was to take care of it. For several decades, protecting the natural splendors found there was assigned to the United States Army, which for the most part had other obligations it considered more pressing. It wasn’t until 1916, after complaints from >>More

September, 2013

Louis Marshall and the Rise of Jewish Ethnicity in America
Author: M.M. Silver

Review by: Philip Terrie

IF WE WERE to make a list of Adirondack families that have left a truly lasting imprint, both here and in the rest of the country, the Marshalls would surely be near or at the top. Most Adirondack enthusiasts are probably familiar with the impressive credentials of Robert Marshall: one of the original Adirondack Forty-Sixers, indefatigable long-distance hiker, author of widely read books on Alaska and forestry, co-founder of the Wilderness Society, and one of the most important American environmentalists of the first half of the twentieth century. But how many know about the distinguished career of his father, Louis >>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


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