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Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic
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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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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... Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Leah
Cone portrays the scientific and cultural aspect of the complex issue of the `Arctic Paradox' in a way that simplifies the complicated politics of how and why this event occurred. Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by S Walsh
I am an AP Environmental Science teacher and I highly recommend this well written informative book about the challenges that the Arctic is facing. Read morePublished on September 23, 2012 by Mary S.