Your Montana Public Radio
Wed October 23, 2013
Christopher White Discovers The Melting World
During this program, Christopher White talks about and reads from his book The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers.
About The Book:
As world temperatures soar, public outcry has focused on the threat to polar ice sheets and sea ice. Yet there is another impact of global warming—one much closer to home—that spells trouble for Americans: the extinction of alpine glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. The epicenter of the crisis is Glacier National Park, Montana, whose peaks once held one-hundred-and-fifty glaciers. Only twenty-five survive. The Park provides a window into the future of climate impacts for mountain ranges around the globe.
Alpine glaciers have already begun to disappear worldwide: The Alps, Andes, Cascades, Rockies, and Himalayas are suffering staggering losses. Glaciers provide more than fifty percent of our freshwater needs worldwide—for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. What’s more, alpine ice feeds innumerable watersheds that harbor ecosystems crucial to fish and wildlife. Nowhere is this truer than in the mountains of Montana.
Christopher White tracks two ecologists, Dan Fagre and Clint Muhlfeld, and their USGS team into the high peaks as they take the pulse of Montana’s glaciers and the watersheds below. The verdict: The remaining ice may vanish in less than a decade. Already, impacts are startling and widespread, from runaway forest fires, declining trout streams, and endangered lynx to shifting treelines and dwindling water reserves.
The journey across the glaciers is part adventure story, part environmental saga. Can we save alpine glaciers at home and afar? By exploring the glaciers and their watersheds through the lens of ecology, Fagre and Mulfeld offer remedies and call on each of us to fight for the world’s remaining ice.
Christopher White is a science writer and naturalist. Early in his career, Chris was a staff biologist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, specializing in maritime issues. He also served as Executive Director of the Mare Nostrum Foundation, a Belgium-based ocean policy organization. Since then, he has written The Melting World and three books on the Chesapeake Bay, as well as articles about science and natural history for National Geographic and other magazines. He has a degree in biology from Princeton University. As a filmmaker, Chris served as a producer in development for an eight-part television documentary on man’s relationship with the sea, The Blue Revolution, which won a CINE Golden Eagle. The series was broadcast on Discovery Channel and many networks around the world, including NHK-Japan, ABC-Australia, and TF1-France. His diving expeditions have taken him to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). An avid mountaineer, he has climbed Mr. Rainier, Grand Teton, Glacier Peak, Mont Blanc, and the Matterhorn, among other summits.