Fraser's Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica
A dramatic chronicle of Antarctica's penguins that bears witness to climate changes that foreshadow our own future
The towering mountains and iceberg-filled seas of the western Antarctic Peninsula have for three decades formed the backdrop of scientist Bill Fraser's study of Adélie penguins. In that time, this breathtaking region has warmed faster than any place on earth, with profound consequences for the Adélies, the classic tuxedoed penguin that is dependent on sea ice to survive. During the Antarctic spring and summer of 2005-2006, author Fen Montaigne spent five months working on Fraser's field team, and he returned with a moving tale that chronicles the beauty of the wildest place on earth, the lives of the beloved Adélies, the saga of the discovery of the Antarctic Peninsula, and the story—told through Fraser's work—of how rising temperatures are swiftly changing this part of the world. Captivated by the tale of these polar penguins and a memorable field season in Antarctica, readers will come to understand that the fundamental changes Fraser has witnessed in the Antarctic will soon affect our lives.
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Unfortunately, I felt depressed after reading this. Not the author's fault - he's just the messenger, and he tells an interesting story about living in Antarctica for five months working as a bird researcher, focusing on Adelie penguins. He describes the beautiful setting well, and his experiences with the birds and wildlife are captivating. The bottom line, though, is that climate change is real, and devastating - yet we remain sadly paralyzed, unable to respond in a rational way.