Tales from an Uncertain World: What Other Assorted Disasters Can Teach Us About Climate Change

Monday, July 11, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. MDT

The Monday Book Forums are an opportunity for attendees to interact with authors and experts on hazards, disasters, and climate change. The confurrent forums will feature a brief synopsis of a selected book by the author, followed by a stimulating panel discussion of the work with experts in related fields. The conversation is then opened to the audience in what promises to be three highly interactive sessions.

Audience members are encouraged to read a selected book beforehand, these forums will be educational and thought-provoking, even for those new to the content.

Tales from an Uncertain World: What Other Assorted Disasters Can Teach Us About Climate Change, University of Iowa Press, 2018

So far, humanity hasn’t done very well in addressing the ongoing climate catastrophe. Veteran science educator L. S. Gardiner believes we can learn to do better by understanding how we’ve dealt with other types of environmental risks in the past and why we are dragging our feet in addressing this most urgent emergency. Weaving scientific facts and research together with humor and emotion, Gardiner explores human responses to erosion, earthquakes, fires, invasive species, marine degradation, volcanic eruptions, and floods in order to illuminate why we find it so challenging to deal with climate change. Insight emerges from unexpected places—a mermaid exhibit, a Magic 8 Ball, and midcentury cartoons about a future that never came to be.

Instead of focusing on the economics and geopolitics of the debate over climate change, this book brings large-scale disaster to a human scale, emphasizing the role of the individual. We humans do have the capacity to deal with disasters. When we face threatening changes, we don’t just stand there pretending it isn’t so, we do something. But because we’re human, our responses aren’t always the right ones the first time—yet we can learn to do better. This book is essential reading for all who want to know how we can draw on our strengths to survive the climate catastrophe and forge a new relationship with nature.

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