My second book project traces the way humankind has used and represented icebergs from the Middle Ages to the present.
We talk about icebergs like they're alive: they calve from glaciers, hiss and growl as they churn in icy waters, and they die slow deaths as they follow ocean currents. But along the way, they can do real damage, as the Titanic disaster dramatically testifies.
Icebergs are threats. But they are also valuable resources, variously exploited as navigational aids, mid-ocean aircraft carriers, and drinking water. As a result, icebergs have been a catalyzing force for international cooperation and will be the source of future fights.
The natural phenomena is also a potent cultural symbol for humankind's changing relationship with the environment. What was once depicted in monumental paintings as a memento of nature's power is now routinely cited as proof of the earth's fragility.
As the planet warms, more icebergs will be launched into the ocean. This book offers a history of icebergs and predicts their future.