Author of The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the book The Sixth Extinction. It begins with a history of the “big five” extinctions of the past, and goes on to explain how human behavior is creating a sixth one—including our use of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change. “We are effectively undoing the beauty and the variety and the richness of the world which has taken tens of millions of years to reach,” Kolbert states. “... We’re sort of unraveling that. We’re doing a massive experiment on the planet, and we really don’t know what the end point is going to be.” Climate change was the subject of Kolbert’s previous book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, winner of the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award in 2011, which recognizes outstanding environmental reporting. Her research for this book took her around the world, to oceans, rain forests, and mountains—as well as a place nearly in her backyard—where scientists are studying disappearing plants and animals.