Glaciers: The Politics of Ice

Hardcover | May 28, 2015

byJorge Daniel Taillant

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Though not traditionally thought of as strategic natural resources, glaciers are a crucial part of our global ecosystem playing a fundamental role in the sustaining of life around the world. Comprising three quarters of the world's freshwater, they freeze in the winter and melt in the summer,supplying a steady flow of water for agriculture, livestock, industry and human consumption. The white of glacier surfaces reflect sunrays which otherwise warm our planet. Without them, many of the planet's rivers would run dry shortly after the winter snow-melt. A single mid-sized glacier in highmountain environments of places like California, Argentina, India, Kyrgyzstan, or Chile can provide an entire community with a sustained flow of drinking water for generations. On the other hand, when global temperatures rise, not only does glacier ice wither away into the oceans and cease to act aswater reservoirs, but these massive ice bodies can become highly unstable and collapse into downstream environments, resulting in severe natural events like glacier tsunamis and other deadly environmental catastrophes. But despite their critical role in environmental sustainability, glaciers oftenexist well outside our environmental consciousness, and they are mostly unprotected from atmospheric impacts of global warming or from soot deriving from transportation emissions, or from certain types of industrial activity such as mining, which has been shown to have devastating consequences forglacier survival. Glaciers: The Politics of Ice is a scientific, cultural, and political examination of the cryosphere - the earth's ice - and the environmental policies that are slowly emerging to protect it. Jorge Daniel Taillant discusses the debates and negotiations behind the passage of the world's firstglacier-protection law in the mid-2000s, and reveals the tension that quickly arose between industry, politicians, and environmentalists when an international mining company proposed dynamiting three glaciers to get at gold deposits underneath. The book is a quest to educate general society aboutthe basic science behind glaciers, outlines current and future risks to their preservation, and reveals the intriguing politics behind glacier melting debates over policies and laws to protect the resource. Taillant also makes suggestions on what can be done to preserve these crucial sources offresh water, from both a scientific and policymaking standpoint.Glaciers is a new window into one of the earth's most crucial and yet most ignored natural resources, and a call to reawaken our interest in the world's changing climate.

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From the Publisher

Though not traditionally thought of as strategic natural resources, glaciers are a crucial part of our global ecosystem playing a fundamental role in the sustaining of life around the world. Comprising three quarters of the world's freshwater, they freeze in the winter and melt in the summer,supplying a steady flow of water for agricul...

Jorge Daniel Taillant is the executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Environment, an Argentina-based organization. He is the author of numerous publications on the impacts of mining on glaciers.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:360 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.1 inPublished:May 28, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199367256

ISBN - 13:9780199367252

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsHow to Read this BookIntroduction1. Dynamite Glaciers2. What is a Glacier?3. The World's First Glacier Protection Law4. Invisible Glaciers5. The Barrick Veto6. Life without Glaciers7. Resurgence8. Amazing Glacier Stuff9. Implementation10. The Human Right...to Glaciers?11. Final WordsAnnex:1) The Argentine National Glacier Protection Law2) Bibliography3) About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"While there are quite a number of books on the market about glaciers from a scientific perspective, this is the first book about the actual protection of glaciers through environmental legislation and other mitigation measures. Interdisciplinary books, such as this one, are highly relevantin today's world. In the face of a changing climate and increased need to access natural resources under a growing world population, understanding the intersection between science and society is critical." --Eugenie Euskirchen, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks