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“Field Notes from a Catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert

Human civilization takes advantage of technological and scientific achievements and can make a certain prognosis about the future. However, the problem of climate change has always been in the scope of researchers, as it is one of the topical and burning questions nowadays. Dangerous natural climate processes and anthropogenic factor in it plays an essential role in Kolbert’s (2006) book about man, nature, and climate change in the context of natural catastrophe. According to the Oxford dictionary, catastrophe is “an event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster” (Oxford Dictionaries Online, 2011). To understand the reason for a natural catastrophe, it is necessary to reveal the central theme of Kolbert’s book.

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The central theme of the book focuses the reader’s attention around the problem of global climate destabilization, expressed in global warming, natural catastrophes (storms, hurricanes, etc.), rise in carbon dioxide concentration and other phenomena. The author is extremely frustrated with this inevitable global process that may destroy human life and the entire world. Also, she demonstrates her despair, caused by American government administration that does nothing to prevent the climate destabilization, and decrease the level of vulnerability of those American zones that suffer most of all (Kolbert, 2006).

The researcher explains the essence of natural phenomena in her own way. For example, one of the reasons for global warming is the abnormal level of carbon dioxide that energetically disbalances the earth; heating of the earth is its corresponding protective reaction that intends to restore this balance. In spite of the fact that numerous global organizations know about this dangerous trend, the signs of future disasters are obvious. In the book, Kolbert shows the current state of things on the planet: melting of arctic glaciers, migrations of animal species to the North, forest fires, similarity of daytime and nighttime temperatures, increasing worming and acidity of the oceans, etc. The author even predicts that if nothing is changed, by 2080, Arctic sea ice will disappear (Kolbert, 2006).

Besides, Kolbert reveals that the earth is not in equilibrium that poses a threat to all living beings. The main reason lies in the unbalanced distribution of heat, caused by transparent gases (oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapor). Global warming is the result of this greenhouse effect. Moreover, the anthropogenic factor causes the increase of the world temperature: industrialization raises carbon dioxide levels. Numerous animal species may extinct; however, some of them may adjust and survive. Global climate change is dangerous for human health, as well. It may cause diseases and affect genetic code. Nevertheless, Kolbert offers some means to confront the problem: cooperative global work and management, directed to reduce emissions to the atmosphere and production of greenhouse gases, improve energy transmission systems, etc.

As one can see, one of the solutions to the problem of global climate destabilization lies in human management. Drucker (2001) dedicated his book to management. In the book, the author discusses the problems of management and business in the context of human history and focuses on the modern world. Elaborating the strategies, intended to improve business management, Drucker underlines the necessity of certain education, knowledge, strengths, values, communication, cooperation and leadership in achieving the effectiveness (Drucker, 2001).

Consequently, if modern society uses these principles of management, humanity will have good chances to survive, and save the earth. To solve the global climate problem, it is necessary to involve organizations with educated, experienced and leading specialists that will be able to elaborate on the strategy of earth protection and reduction of human harmful activity that destroy the planet and its climate. However, it is too difficult to improve the situation without cooperation with governments that may invest projects and favor the productive work of the special organizations financially. It is essential to remember that only professional management leads to desirable results.

Denhardt’s (2007) book is focused on public organizations that may contribute to the solution to the global problem, as well. In the book, the researcher explains the importance of public organizations in human lives. Stressing on organizational humanism, public administration and policy, Denhardt states that in the case of highly developed, responsible and effective public policy, it is possible to achieve any aims. The author believes that the happiness of human society depends on the adequate performance of administrative mechanisms. The clue to human survival is the ability to apply theory to practice. Besides, public organizations should be intelligently governed.

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Proceeding from the research of Kolbert, Drucker, and Denhardt, one can make the following conclusions. Earth’s climate destabilization is a global natural catastrophe that poses a threat to all living creatures. As a human being is able to confront and solve the problem, it is necessary to know the principles of management and policy of those special organizations and countries’ governments that are responsible for eliminating this problem. Intelligent, cooperative work, based on scientific knowledge and experience seems to be people’s main clues. Adequate policy, investment, and professional management may speed up the process of climate stabilization.


Denhardt, R. B. (2007). Theories of Public Organization (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Wadsworth Publishing.

Drucker, P. F. (2001). The Essential Drucker. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.

Kolbert, E. (2006). Field Notes from a Catastrophe. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Oxford Dictionaries Online. Web.

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