Cover image for The end of ice : bearing witness and finding meaning in the path of climate disruption / Dahr Jamail.
The end of ice : bearing witness and finding meaning in the path of climate disruption / Dahr Jamail.
Publication Information:
New York : The New Press : distributed by Two Rivers Distribution, 2019.

Physical Description:
257 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
577.276 JAM Book Adult General Collection

On Order



As seen in The New York Times, Men's Journal,, and The Guardian

The author who Jeremy Scahill calls the "quintessential unembedded reporter" visits "hot spots" around the world in a global quest to discover how we will cope with our planet's changing ecosystems

After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis--from Alaska to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest--in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.

In The End of Ice, we follow Jamail as he scales Denali, the highest peak in North America, dives in the warm crystal waters of the Pacific only to find ghostly coral reefs, and explores the tundra of St. Paul Island where he meets the last subsistence seal hunters of the Bering Sea and witnesses its melting glaciers. Accompanied by climate scientists and people whose families have fished, farmed, and lived in the areas he visits for centuries, Jamail begins to accept the fact that Earth, most likely, is in a hospice situation. Ironically, this allows him to renew his passion for the planet's wild places, cherishing Earth in a way he has never been able to before.

Like no other book, The End of Ice offers a firsthand chronicle--including photographs throughout of Jamail on his journey across the world--of the catastrophic reality of our situation and the incalculable necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile planet while we still can.

Author Notes

Dahr Jamail , a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. Jamail has reported from the Middle East over the last ten years, and he has won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. He lives in Washington State.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone), a war correspondent and mountaineer, offers an unrelentingly depressing account of the current state of the environment. Time and again, Jamail asserts that all available scientific evidence shows that the damage humanity has done to the planet cannot be reversed, recounting near the start his realization that "we had defiled the biosphere and we were past the point of no return." His survey of various ecosystems, including the Alaskan glaciers, the Amazon basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and northern California's forests, leads him to the grim conclusion that "we are already facing mass extinction." Jamail has managed to achieve inner peace by accepting the inevitability of humanity's end, even as he grieves deeply, although he offers no basis for concluding that his calm response will be widespread. His message is not entirely consistent; he echoes an expert in palliative care that "the time to change our ways is long past," but also endorses Vaclav Havel's definition of hope as "the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out," suggesting some merit to changing policies. The hopelessness this book engenders makes its intended audience and scope of readership unclear. Agent: Anthony Arnove, Roam Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

Our current environmental crisis is often described in language that makes it hard to appreciate the transformations already underway and the role we played in them. For Jamail, "climate change" is too ambiguous a term; he prefers "anthropogenic climate disruption," which emphasizes human agency while also noting just how unusual it is for a single species to cause such havoc, making the earth uninhabitable for many. In "The End of Ice," Jamail, an avid mountaineer and former war reporter, visits a handful of different environments being impacted by anthropogenic climate disruption, or whatever you want to call it - from the heights of Denali to the heart of the Amazon - hoping to "bring home ... the urgency of our planetary crisis through firsthand accounts." He recalls his conversations with a wide cast of characters from coral ecologists in Guam to indigenous residents of Utqiagvik, the northernmost town in the United States. Each in his or her own right bears witness to the ways in which the places they study and depend upon are already coming undone. Jamail, and his adventurer's attraction to far-flung locations, helps hold this string of reporting trips together. Toward the end of the book he suggests that we must sit with our grief for the ever-diminishing planet; to understand how to proceed, we must acknowledge what we have lost and what we will continue to lose. Perhaps what brings him to this place of great mourning is his regular engagement with the "worst case scenarios" buried deep in the pages of the official reports. Too often climate coverage errs on the cautious side, suggesting that this or that may come to pass. "The End of Ice" illustrates with an almost overwhelming string of statistics that for many of the world's glaciers, coral reefs and ancient forests, the end is already here.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Denalip. 11
2 Time Becomes Unfrozenp. 27
3 The Canary in the Coal Minep. 53
4 Farewell Coralp. 75
5 The Coming Atlantisp. 101
6 The Fate of the Forestsp. 133
7 The Fuses Are Litp. 157
8 The End at the Top of the Worldp. 181
Conclusion: Presencep. 209
Acknowledgmentsp. 227
Notesp. 231
Indexp. 249