Presents the author's experiences of extreme climate as well as the history of ice, snow, ocean currents, and weather cycles, along with her thesis that human consciousness is heightened by the rhythms and changes of the weather.
This book is written out of Gretel Ehrlich’s love for winter—for remote and cold places, and the ways in which winter frees our imagination and invigorates our feet, mind, and soul—and out of the fear that our “democracy of gratification” has irreparably altered the climate. In The Future of Ice, Ehrlich travels to extreme points—from Tierra del Fuego in the south to Spitsbergen, east of Greenland, at the very top of the world—in her quest to understand the complex, primal nature of cold.Over the course of a year, Ehrlich and her cold-loving canine companion experience firsthand the myriad expressions of cold, and she gives us marvelous histories of wind, water, snow, and ice, of ocean currents and weather cycles. Ehrlich explores how our very awareness, our consciousness, is animated and enlivened by the archaic rhythms and erupting oscillations of weather. As she writes, “Weather streamed into my nose, mouth, eyes, and ears and circulated inside my brain. . . . A gust can shove one impulse into another; a blizzard erases a line of action; a sandstorm permeates inspiration; rain is a form of sleep. Lightning makes scratch marks on brains; hail gouges out a nesting place, melts, and waters the seed of an idea that can germinate into idiocy, a joke, or genius.” We share Ehrlich’s experience of the thrills of cold and also her questions: What will happen to us if we are “deseasoned”? If winter ends, will we survive?