“Rising Tides” and “An Inconvenient Truth”

Eleven years ago, the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” focused on Al Gore’s attempt to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by global warming. http://imdb.to/2sDOjEU  The film made something of a splash with its stark picture of climate change and its impact on the planet. It captured public attention, for a time. But then came the climate deniers, the yahoos of the new millennium who challenged the experts with, well, demagoguery, “fake news” and emotion. Americans, it seems, have a short attention span and an inconvenient relationship to the truth.

Now comes “Rising Tides: Climate Refugees in the Twenty-First Century,” an important book about what is increasingly an even more urgent subject: climate refugees that are roiling the planet, leading to political mayhem resulting from human dislocation that sooner or later, and actually right now is affecting all of us. http://bit.ly/2rOZkAm It’s not just warming temperatures, more frequent storms, rising sea levels, or polar bears’ shrinking ice floes but a rising tide of human refugees fleeing our own species’ self-destruction.

The book, just published by Indiana University Press and co-authored by John R. Wennersten and Denise Robbins, is a must read for anyone who cares about the present and the future of civilization, and not just in the abstract. So much of the coverage of climate change has been episodic—a flood here, a heat wave there. I haven’t seen anyone trace, for example, the surge of migrants from Africa or of refugees from the conflict in Syria that has caused so much death in the Middle East and chaos in Europe to the drought that preceded them—until now.

Here, at last, is a passionately argued, well-documented wake-up call on the dire, current and undeniable human fallout from climate change. Looking behind the headlines, it connects the dots in a way that will inform and should alarm us all.  Full disclosure: Jack Wennersten is a longtime friend of mine, which is why I am not writing this for a more respectable publication.  Jack’s books include the classic “Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake Bay” and several others that treat the intersection of history and the environment in our region and globally.

For those nearby, there is a book party hosted by Chesapeake Climate Action Network this Thursday night, 7-8:30, at the Silver Spring Library, 900 Wayne Ave.  And even if you are not nearby, I urge you to buy, beg or borrow (Jack would prefer buy) this book now.

Rising Tides


  1. Allen Hirsh on June 27, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Baruch Hashem. At “cocktail parties” this biologist tries to get people to understand that the massive data coming in about the destruction of biological stability dovetails very neatly with the powerful data from the climatologists. The inescapable conclusion is that climate change denial is tantamount to denying the germ theory of disease. I should buy the book.

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