I had two primary reasons for reading in The Melting World: A Journey Across America's Vanishing Glaciers by Christopher White. The first was my general interest in environmental issues and the conservation of wild places. The second more specific reason was that Bonnie and I are going to Glacier National Park later this year.
Having now read The Melting World, I see another way that it satisfies my interests. I enjoy stories told by naturalists working in the field. Much of White's book accounts for his days spent outside with the shrinking glaciers in the remote national park. On each of these days, he treks many miles with dedicated researchers to measure and observe ice and snow. The team utilizes many tools; GPS, portable and stationary weather stations, and a variety of cameras are primary sources of data. They also count wildlife species and record the levels of the streams and lakes feed by glacial melting. In five years, they discover many reasons to be concerned about the future of Glacier National Park and the planet.
While not a travel guide, I did learn much about the mountains, glaciers, and bodies of water as well as flora and fauna. Unlike White, I will not be able to go far into the back country, but I want to see as much as I can. I know I will better able to make sense of the place having read this book.
The Melting World is a worthy item to add to current natural history collections.
White, Christopher. The Melting World: A Journey Across America's Vanishing Glaciers. St. Martin's Press, 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780312546281.