Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways.
In this highly original work of lyrical reportage, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place. Weaving firsthand accounts from those facing this choice—a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago—with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of the communities both currently at risk and already displaced, Rising privileges the voices of those usually kept at the margins.
At once polyphonic and precise, Rising is a shimmering meditation on vulnerability and on vulnerable communities, both human and more than human, and on how to let go of the places we love.
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Praise and Prizes
“From the edges of our continent, where sea level rise is already well underway, Elizabeth Rush lays bare the often hidden effects of climate change—lost homes, lost habitats, broken family ties, chronic fear and worry—and shows us how those effects ripple toward us all. With elegance, intelligence, and guts, she guides us through one of the most frightening and complex issues of our time.”
“Truly local reporting is crucial not just during natural disasters, when the national media may be present, but during the long, often painful and messy aftermath. That’s when decisions are made, too often without scrutiny, that can shape the nature of a town and the fates of its residents for generations to come. . . . Rush follows [such decisions] with tenacity, commitment, and empathy.”