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How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help us Survive the Climate Crisis

How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help us Survive the Climate Crisis

How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help us Survive the Climate Crisis

Saturday 4th May 2024.


The way he writes is not as dry as I initially thought. Rather, it is characterised by a highly active scientific competence, coupled with a writer’s finely tuned sense of humour in its practical application. The author does not remain locked away in an ivory tower of theory. As well as providing us with reliable findings, he also takes a look forward at science fiction and a studied glance back into the Earth’s history. The book is interesting and weighs 575 grams. I weighed it on my kitchen scales. It is 21 cm long and 16 cm wide, if my ruler is not lying, and it has 320 pages and many more references. The paper is wood, acid and chlorine-free.

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. In 2020, he was also elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Among many other honours and awards, he was part of the scientific team of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. M.E.M. is the author of numerous books, which describe him as a knowledgeable, talented and humorous scientific writer. His latest book, OUR FRAGILE MOMENT: HOW LESSONS FROM EARTH’S PAST CAN HELP US SURVIVE THE CLIMATE CRISIS was published by Public Affairs, Hachette Book Group, in New York. Unfortunately, I have not yet found it published in Portuguese by Porto Editora or Leya – like so many other important books. Portuguese publishers do translate a lot of romanticised drivel, but not the current, most important scientific world literature on the climate crisis. Not even local authors, such as Dr João Camargo or Luisa Schmidt, enjoy a useful role in the domestic book market. Their sales figures are negligible. For better or worse, we have to learn English or German in order to be able to read world literature; otherwise we won’t get anywhere in Portugal. That’s what ECO123 and book reviews are for…


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Uwe Heitkamp (64)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, Patrícia Lara
Photos: Miguel Martinez, Heather Kostick


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