The Big Thaw: Veteran Journalists Travels Through the Melting North and Chronicles the Widespread Effects of Global Warming

The Big ThawMarch 30, 2009 – In his last major speech as president of the United States, George Bush warned that melting ice in the Arctic represents a huge threat to the security interests of the United States. Yet a recent Gallup Poll found that 41% of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news. Ed Struzik begs to differ as his recounts his first-hand encounters with climate change in THE BIG THAW: Travels in the Melting North (Wiley, $26.95, May 2009).“Over the past three decades,” Struzik explains, “the discovery of six-foot tall beavers, three-toed horses, scimitar cats, western camels and forests at the edge of the North Pole these have proven that the Arctic was at various times a much warmer place than it has been for tens of thousands of years.”

Climate change’s effects are reshaping the Arctic profoundly. As the ice melts, permafrost thaws, sea levels rise, and polar storms pick up steam. Animal habitats are disappearing and natives are seeing their way of life threatened. Meanwhile, the receding ice is opening up invaluable shipping routes and access to remarkable troves of natural resources — with nations arguing over who owns what.

For over a year, Struzik traveled on eleven trips throughout Alaska, Canada’s Arctic territories, and Greenland to document this rapidly changing world. The veteran journalist gained unprecedented access to scientific expeditions, native communities, as well as security and sovereignty experts. THE BIG THAW details Struzik’s observations of receding glaciers, dwindling herds, and invading species symptomatic of a world in decline.

Struzik goes into the field with the world’s leading polar bear scientist, skis on melting glaciers with glaciologists, travels the Northwest Passage on an aging icebreaker, and stalks a carnivorous rogue walrus with an Inuit hunter. His journeys bring him up close to some of the world’s most unique animals, from the iconic polar bear to the mysterious narwhal to the prehistoric-looking muskox.

The book not only chronicles the ecological drama taking place in the far north, but the struggles of its native people, the Inuit, to preserve their way of life, and the international battle over which country actually owns the Arctic and its wealth of natural resources.

This dispassionate look at both the science and politics that underlie the global warming crisis, this book brilliantly captures the people and landscape of a world literally melting away.

Ed Struzik is the author of two books and the recipient of more than 30 awards for his writing, including the Northern Lights Award, the Canadian Association of Journalists Awards for Investigative Journalism, Canadian Science Writers Association Science in Society Awards, as well as the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal. He has been nominated for the prestigious 2008 Grantham Prize for Environmental Journalism.

For more information, contact: Cynthia Shannon (415) 782-3119 The Big Thaw: Travels in the Melting North By Ed Struzik Wiley; May 2009; $26.95 978-0-470-15728-2; Hardcover Buy Button
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