Pulitzer Winner Shares Grim Forecast

Author and New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert spoke at Yale University Feb. 17.

SixthExtinctionCoverThe audience for this particular Yale University event was small, about 20 students. But the words spoken by New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert (Class of 1983) were hugely ominous.

From Yale News reporter Natalia Lopez’s summary of the Feb. 17 tea at Saybrook Master’s House:

“There is one thing I can guarantee you, [climate change issues] are not going away in the course of your lifetime,” Kolbert said. “They will be the defining issues of the next century.”

Kolbert said climate change issues are relevant to all people in all careers. While she does not have a scientific background herself, she highlighted her background as a journalist for The New York Times and her subsequent interest in environmental reporting, which led to her involvement in reporting on climate change issues in the early 2000s. She described her journeys to Greenland, the Great Barrier Reef and Alaska to witness the extinction of various flora and fauna as “something you’re not supposed to see.”

During the presentation, Kolbert also bemoaned the way partisan politics have clouded the discussion of “basic scientific facts” and deemed the current presidential election season to be among the most depressing with regards to constructive debate of environmental issues. Kolbert won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for her book The Sixth Extinction.

[Jacket cover courtesy: Picador]

Recommended articles