In the opening chapter of this new book, published October 2021, SEARCH contributor Elizabeth Francis and director Brendan Kelly take readers on a journey through our changing Arctic climate.
Together they illustrate in accessible language the history of our global climate, the unprecedented changes we’re witnessing today, and the cascading impacts on human communities and ecosystems—both within and far beyond—the Arctic.
Kelly and Francis begin with August Kekulé’s famous dream in 1862—wherein carbon molecules revealed to him their ringlike structure in the image of a snake swallowing its tail. The authors then look back in time to when palm trees, alligators, and turtles lounged along a hot and humid Arctic coastline. Finally, the authors describe three divergent Arctic futures with consequences for society that will vary with the amount of future emissions of fossil fuels. And most importantly, Francis and Kelly suggest paths to limit emissions and harm to people in and beyond the Arctic.