Glaciers : the politics of ice /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Taillant, Jorge Daniel, 1968-
Imprint:New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2015.
Description:xxi, 334 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Glacial erosion.
Glaciers -- Environmental aspects.
Glaciers -- Social aspects.
SCIENCE -- Environmental Science.
Glaciärer -- miljöaspekter.
Glaciärer -- sociala aspekter.
Glacial erosion.
Glaciers -- Environmental aspects.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:"Glaciers is a volume about the role glaciers play in our daily lives (often without us knowing), the risks posed to glaciers from natural and anthropogenic activity (including climate change and industrial pollution), and policies and practices that should be employed to protect this fundamental hydrological reserve"--
Though not traditionally thought of as strategic natural resources, glaciers are a crucial part of our global ecosystem, playing a fundamental role in the sustaining of life around the world. Comprising three quarters of the world's freshwater, they supply a steady flow of water for agriculture, livestock, industry and human consumption. Without them, many of the planet's rivers would run dry shortly after the winter snow-melt. A single mid-sized glacier in high mountain environments of places like California, Argentina, India, Kyrgyzstan, or Chile can provide an entire community with a sustained flow of drinking water for generations. On the other hand, when global temperatures rise, not only does glacier ice wither away into the oceans and cease to act as water reservoirs, but these massive ice bodies can become highly unstable and collapse, resulting in severe natural events like glacier tsunamis. But despite their critical role in environmental sustainability, glaciers often exist well outside our environmental consciousness, and they are mostly unprotected from atmospheric impacts of global warming, from soot deriving from transportation emissions, or from industrial activity such as mining. This book is a scientific, cultural, and political examination of the cryosphere--the earth's ice--and the environmental policies that are slowly emerging to protect it. It is a quest to educate general society about the basic science behind glaciers, outline current and future risks to their preservation, and reveal the intriguing politics behind glacier melting debates over policies and laws to protect the resource. The author also makes suggestions on what can be done to preserve these crucial sources of fresh water, from both a scientific and policymaking standpoint.--Adapted from dust jacket.
Review by Choice Review

Glacial ice is a threatened water resource. Despite the fact that glaciers, as they freeze and melt, provide a steady supply of water for many living creatures and also serve as flood control, glacial and periglacial areas are given little or no protection from climate warming and industrial and transportation activities. In this insightful book, Taillant (executive director of the Argentina-based Center for Human Rights and Environment) details the politics and the ecological importance of this ice form, which holds three quarters of the earth's fresh water, often in high mountain areas. He discusses the situation in Argentina, where gold and copper mining in the high elevations was abruptly threatened by Argentina's national glacier protection act (the world's first legislation aimed at protecting this resource), which was unanimously approved by Argentina's Congress in 2008. This minimum-standards law required presidential approval within ten days to become effective, but mining companies such as Barrick Gold convinced president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to veto the law. The environment secretary was ultimately convinced to help draft more mining-friendly legislation, and the glacier protection law was officially passed in 2010. Taillent tracks both the science and politics of glaciers in this interesting book, keeping readers in suspense and hoping for a happy ending. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. --R. Max Ferguson, emeritus, Eastern Connecticut State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review