Ice by Marco Tedesco Book Review

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Thank-you to the publisher and author for providing me with an ARC copy of Ice by Marco Tedesco to review via Netgalley.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year educating myself about the planet and its people. Climate change, societal injustice and politics are definitely the themes of 2020.

I recommended some books about racism and inequality to read in my Black Lives Matter blog post. I’ll continue recommending reading material about social injustices because it’s a huge issue. 

If like me, you’re from the UK, you should definitely read The Secret Barrister. It highlights the deep issues in our criminal justice system, from magistracies to the Ministry of Justice. I’ll write a full review of The Secret Barrister and what I learned from it soon. I’m also eager to read their latest book titled Fake Law.

I’m currently reading Toxic Childhood Stress by Dr Nadine Burke Harris, which truly is mindblowing. I’ve made a lot of notes and will write about that soon too.

In my view, having an online platform is pointless if you don’t raise awareness and encourage education.

Today we’re talking about climate change, or more specifically: ice. 

Melting ice sheet in Greenland.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

We all know that the melting ice sheet is a huge, Earth-changing issue. Many of us don’t know the statistics about why, what will happen, and how we can change it.

That’s where Marco Tedesco comes in. His short book is a memoir, filled with facts and anecdotes about his experiences working on the ice. Marco is an Italian Research Professor at Columbia University. He writes for the New York Times, The Washington Post, and has worked with NASA.

Ice: Tales From a Disappearing Continent by Marco Tedesco

Ice by Marco Tedesco Book Review

Most of us will never see the ice sheet in Greenland. Nor will we ever understand the complexities about preserving it, and what will happen if we don’t.

This book is brilliant. Marco Tedesco and Alberto Flores d’Arcais convey the fragility of the ice, as well as its sheer power. It’s beautiful and terrifying. 

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know a lot about the native peoples of Greenland. Inuits and many other tribes have lived in Greenland for many many years. These people have suffered at the hands of colonialism. 

Greenland has the highest suicide rate in the world. Yet it doesn’t appear on global statistics, as a region of Denmark, rather than a ‘real country’. In fact, Greenland’s suicide rates are more than twice the second-placed country, Lithuania. In most nations, elderly people dominate suicide statistics. In Greenland, it’s teenagers and young adults.

Marco Tedesco doesn’t just relay scientific facts. He approaches serious topics, including the suffering of Inuit people, with empathy. He tells us about their culture, religious practices and musical traditions. 

I appreciated Marco’s insights into life as a scientist on the ice. What it’s like, what they eat, their daily routines, and what they wear. Apparently, cotton clothing is an absolute no. Once it gets wet, trapped air in the fabric fills up with water and won’t protect you.

Ice also provides us with a dire warning: we must change. We must elect politicians who will commit to helping the planet recover.

I’ve made many changes in my life, to live more ethically and sustainably. However, there’s only a limited impact that we as individuals can have. Governments and corporations need to change. The 1% need to change. That’s not to say that recycling, shopping locally, and boycotting fast fashion doesn’t help. But it only helps a little. We need big commitments here. We need laws! We need a global change. That’s my environmentalist rant over for today. I realise I’m likely preaching to the converted here!

I want to share some information I learned from Ice: Tales From a Disappearing Continent. I implore you to read the book yourself, it’s very insightful, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Some facts I learned from Ice by Marco Tedesco

  • If the entire Greenland ice sheet melted, global sea levels would rise by twenty feet.
  • On the ice, tiny sounds get amplified. ‘Ordinary sounds are perceived in a completely different way’.
  • The ice moves and is so big it exerts its own gravitational pull. As the ice melts, the pull will weaken. This means the rise in sea levels will be greater farther away from Greenland.
  • At the centre, in the thickest point, the ice can be up to 2 miles in depth.
  • In Greenland, the sun never sets in summer, and never rises in winter.
  • Ice is darker than snow. It’s not white.
  • Temperatures are rising on the ice sheet at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.
  • Matthew Alexander Henson was a Black North Pole Explorer. He did not receive a deserved acknowledgement until he was 70 years old. Why? Racism. Born in 1866, his Arctic exploration memoir was first published in 1912. Yet it wasn’t until 1937 that he became a member of the ‘Explorers Club in New York’. Later still, in 1944, he finally got awarded the ‘Peary Polar Expedition Medal’ by Congress.
  • Putin’s Russia has an interest in the Arctic. Why? Oil reserves and military operations. Marco brings up a terrifying thought. If a country controlled the sea ice, they would be able to impact the climate of other countries. How? By altering and creating meteorological events in an ‘ice-cold war’.

I encourage everyone to read Ice: Tales From a Disappearing Continent. It’s quite a short book, and the layman (i.e. people who aren’t scientists or geographers) can understand it.

You can buy a copy of Ice Tales From a Disappearing Continent by Marco Tedesco here.

Feel free to check out my other book reviews and reading lists, or add me on Goodreads. I also have a new ‘Bookstagram’ account on Instagram, for all the bookish things and my digital art.

All the best, Emily

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  1. I am very concerned about the environment and about climate change so this book by Marco is the sort of book I would pick up myself. There is just so much for us to learn about the issues and more needs to be done to make the changes

    1. There really is so much to be done, and we as individuals have such little control unfortunately. The more people that know about it, the better! Ice is a great book, it’s not just about the scary stats, it told the stories of indigenous people and a day-in-the-life of scientists, which I loved.

  2. I have been reading a lot more non fiction content recently and this sounds like a fascinating read that will truly educate me. Will check it out.

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