What I Learned on a Luxury Cruise Through the Global-Warming Apocalypse is a thought-provoking essay about climate change by Roy Scranton, published October 21 in The Nation. In it he describes a 17-day trip he took to the Arctic to witness the melting at the top of the world for himself, and discovered, as he says, an “inconvenient truth: We can’t make it stop.” Accompanied by his beautiful photographs, Roy’s essay gives us an important perspective on the effects of climate change in the Arctic, where the temperature is going up faster than anywhere else on Earth.

Passengers board and disembark. Ships sail east and west. Planes fly in and out of Iqaluit, Sydney, Beijing, JFK. Traffic thickens and thins along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the lights along Manhattan turn off, turn on, as the coal-fired grid ebbs and surges. The stock market rises and falls, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years, money changes hands, and carbon flows from under the earth into the sky. Ice melts into the sea, drop by drop. Another UN convention meets. Another election cycle begins. Another hottest summer ever passes.

What do we do? Do we try to save a planet that can’t be saved, or do we adapt? I’ve got a generation of kids who are still living in a paradigm of saving the planet. Others see that we’re beyond that and that it cannot be saved.