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Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0802142597
ISBN-10: 0802142591
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Her findings are dismaying, yet Silent Snow is not a dismal read. Indeed, Cone may as well be commenting on her own book when describing the tale of the Arctic Paradox as an 'environmental whodunit' having 'all the elementals of an engrossing novel.' ... Would that everyone read Silent Snow and then act on it."

About the Author

Marla Cone is one of the nation's premier environmental journalists. She has nineteen years of experience covering environmental issues, including fifteen years at the Los Angeles Times. Cone was a teaching fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999 and again in 2002. She has twice won a national award for environmental reporting.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802142591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802142597
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Contamination of the North
Generally, when people think of the North Pole they think of a beautiful and clean environment, far away from factories and pollution. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Marla Cone, the author of Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic claims the Arctic Circle to be one of the most contaminated places on Earth. This is a rather heavy claim, but one backed up by evidence. The most prominent being that enormous quantities of Polychlorinated Biphenyls are being found in the Arctic Circle. Throughout her book she explains the process of PCB starting in factories, and how it ends up in humans in the North Pole.
So what exactly are Polychlorinated Biphenyls anyway? Marla Cone explains PCB’s in a rather easy way to understand. PCB is a synthetic chemical created in the late 1800’s. In the early 1920’s it started to become mainstream for its convenient uses. Some products PCB’s would be in include fire retardant materials, paints, adhesives, and waterproofing substances. With the increase in luxury and in a society increasingly turning into a convenience society, the uses for PCB grew, and the amount of PCB’s being put into the atmosphere exponentially increased as well. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing but because PCB’s are synthetic chemicals, they take a very long time to break down in the environment. Marla Cone states the primary way PCB’s are broken down in the environment is by soil and sediment. This is because of the many microorganisms that live within the soil.
How exactly does PCB being produced in industrialized countries end way up in the North Pole? According to Marla Cone, it’s because of ocean and wind currents. Wind currents stem from the difference of pressure throughout the world.
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Format: Paperback
The book Silent Snow by Marla Cone is really interesting. She chooses a topic that is usually neglected and taken for granted by people and explains it really well. She explains every possible answer for every possible question asked by people related to the topic. The notion of highly toxic environment in North Pole is usually neglected because the stigma that North Pole has a really pure and clean environment sticks to many people in other parts of the world. Additionally, people often just take it for granted the thing that they do every day.
The book makes people think about the interrelation that happens in the world, that every action that people take in a certain place can cause something to people in other places both in the short term and long term. Thus, the book intrigues people to really think about what they do and what will be the impact of their actions, because what people think as a small chemical residue can cause a global impact and can become toxic in a broader scope.
The conclusion of the book is well written. Even though she explains that many new things can happen in the future, that many “new” types of toxic chemicals might arise in the future, as long as everyone does what they can do and use all of the knowledge that they possess, there is still a chance for changes. There is still hope for the future.
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Format: Paperback
Marla Cone perfectly masters the balance between science and humanity in Silent Snow. Where most books strive to merely provide the scientific facts surrounding contaminants, Silent Snow provides these facts while also analyzing the effects of these contaminants on the native people and the other Arctic animals and plants. Cone accomplishes giving a scientific subject a human face. She interviews many Inuit people as well as scientists to accomplish this feat and does it masterfully. These interviews and interactions come down to the reader through a series of stories from different regions of the Arctic. These areas include the Faroe Islands, northern Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Svalbard, northern Canada, and Greenland.
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By Leah on December 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Cone lets the reader develop feelings of responsibility and conviction for the poisoning of the arctic in the powerful way of telling stories of the Inuit and their culture while explaining the tragic and toxic intersection between their culture and ours. She keeps the reader interested by choosing to alternate between personal experience, stories told by native people of the arctic, journeys of the scientists who discovered that the arctic was contaminated and the levels of contamination in the people and animals, and facts. The book is extremely informational, but it kept me interested and engaged the whole way through. Cone causes the reader to become emotionally involved throughout the book by telling personal stories of visiting the arctic and interacting with its’ inhabitants. After I became emotionally attached to the people, land, and animals, Cone described the effects that my lifestyle, as well as all of the urban inhabitants lifestyles, has on the people of the arctic. This gave me a sense of responsibility and conviction to the pollution and the health effects it has on the children and animals.
I agree with Cone, the scientists, and organizations featured in the book and that the pollution we indirectly contaminate the arctic with is a social injustice. I believe that the industrialized world is at fault and is responsible for the negative health effects that our lifestyle causes the arctic people and their land. I think the weight of the harm we are causing them is absolutely on or shoulders and I agree that we are violating their culture by pollution their food, people, and land. This book is an eye opener, a truly interesting and factual account for the effects of our consumer-driven economy.
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