Danielle Clode reviews 'Tambora' by Gillen D'Arcy Wood

Danielle Clode reviews 'Tambora' by Gillen D'Arcy Wood

Tambora: The eruption that changed the world

by Gillen D'Arcy Wood

Princeton University Press (Footprint), $49.95 hb, 311 pp, 9780691150543

As I sit by the fire, a gale rackets at the door and horizontal sleet sheets across my windows. With monster snowfalls in the Alps, the weather is breaking records again. Each winter, the winds are stronger, rains heavier, and temperatures lower than ever before. I put more wood on the fire and consider my investment in double-glazing well-spent.

In our protected and privileged suburban lives, this is as close as we come to considering the consequences of climate change. Weather variation and minor coastal erosion mark the limits of our lived experience. No matter the forecasts of scientists, our psychological response to climate change is the same as it is to all distant predictions of doom (heart disease, car accident). Whatever the odds, it probably won’t happen to us and it probably won’t be all that bad. What harm in a few degrees of temperature or centimetres of sea level?

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Danielle Clode

Danielle Clode

Danielle Clode is a South Australian environmental writer who was the ABR Dahl Trust Fellow in 2014. She is currently writing a biography of the nature writer Edith Coleman. She writes across a diverse range of forms, from scientific articles to creative non-fiction, including Voyages to the South Seas which won the Victoria Premier’s Award for Non-fiction in 2007. Her Fellowship article, ‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’, appeared in the November 2014 issue of ABR.

Published in May 2015, no. 371