It’s summertime, and it’s shaping up to be a hot one. May 2016 was the 13th month in a row to set a global monthly heat record, with temperatures 1.57°F above average, according to NOAA. So when you’re choosing a beach-trip book, you might select one of these new releases on the subject of global warming. Your options include a beginner’s guide to climate change, a cartoon book, several novels, an exploration of how sea life is changing as a result of climate change, and more. So dive in.
Descriptions are drawn from copy provided by the publishers.
The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein (Island Press 2014, 216 pages, $19.95 paperback)
Climate change is no laughing matter – but maybe it should be. The topic is so critical that everyone, from students to policy makers to voters, needs a quick and easy guide to the basics. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change entertains as it educates, delivering a unique and enjoyable presentation of mind-blowing facts and critical concepts. “Stand-up economist” Yoram Bauman and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein have created the funniest overview of climate science, predictions, and policy that you’ll ever read. You’ll giggle, but you’ll also learn about everything from Milankovitch cycles to carbon taxes. . . . Sociologists have argued that we don’t address global warming because it’s too big and frightening to get our heads around. The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change takes the intimidation and gloom out of one of the most complex and hotly debated challenges of our time.
What’s Really Happening to Our Planet? The Facts Simply Explained by Tony Juniper (Dorling Kindersly 2016, 224 pages, $19.95)
Based on unmatched scientific data, What’s Really Happening to Our Planet? brings together major areas of public concern, such as deforestation, climate change, water shortages, and inequality. Easy-to-reference charts and infographics illustrate key findings, while clear, jargon-free text explains the science behind the figures. In addition to charting global trends and showing how they are connected, this book articulates how we can live more sustainably in the future. What’s Really Happening to Our Planet? is a new and heart-stopping analysis of the latest chapter in human history and offers a fresh perspective on our future.
Climate Change for Beginners, by Dean Goodwin PhD (Author), Joe Lee (Illustrator) (For Beginners Books 2016, 160 pages, $15.95)
Year after year science continually proves that global climate change is real. But what does it all really mean and what can or should we do about it? Climate Change For Beginners is a clear, fluid narrative by a leading scientist and educator who takes a scrupulously balanced approach in explaining the history of global climate monitoring and change, and the whos, hows, whats, whens, wheres and whys of the interaction between human activity and recent trends in the Earth’s climate. Working from the premise that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something, Dean Goodwin challenges readers with experiments they can conduct to gain a better understanding of the science underlying the problems facing our planet and concludes with a list of 50 easy actions readers can choose from to start doing their part in the effort to slow or stop global warming.
Walden Warming: Climate Change Comes to Thoreau’s Woods, by Richard B. Primack (University of Chicago Press 2014, 264 pages, $26.00)
In Walden Warming, Richard B. Primack uses Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond, icons of the conservation movement, to track the effects of a warming climate on Concord’s plants and animals. Under the attentive eyes of Primack, the notes that Thoreau made years ago are transformed from charming observations into scientific data sets. Primack finds that many wildflower species that Thoreau observed – including familiar groups such as irises, asters, and lilies – have declined in abundance or have disappeared from Concord. Primack also describes how warming temperatures have altered other aspects of Thoreau’s Concord, from the dates when ice departs from Walden Pond in late winter, to the arrival of birds in the spring, to the populations of fish, salamanders, and butterflies that live in the woodlands, river meadows, and ponds. . . . Primack urges us each to heed the advice Thoreau offers in Walden: to “live simply and wisely.”
While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change, by M. Jackson (Green Writers Press 2015, 236 pages, $24.95)
While Glaciers Slept weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. M. Jackson, a noted scientist and National Geographic Expert, reveals how these events are deeply intertwined, and how the deterioration of her parents’ health was as devastating as the inexorable changing of Earth’s climate. Jackson poses a stark question: if losing one’s parents is so devastating, how can we survive the destruction of the planet that sustains us? Jackson draws both literal and metaphorical parallels between the degradation of the climate and her parents’ struggles with cancer. Nonetheless, Jackson shows that even in the darkest of times we cannot lose hope. Jackson guides us to solar, wind, and geothermal solutions, bringing us along on her expeditions to research climate change and to educate people about how to stop it. . . . Climate change, she convinces us, is not just about science – it is also about the audacity of human courage and imagination.
Full Fathom Five: Ocean Warming and a Father’s Legacy, by Gordin Chaplin (Arcade Publishing 2013, 280 pages, $16.99 paperback, released in 2016)
Gordon Chaplin’s father was a seemingly happy-go-lucky, charismatic adventurer who married a wealthy heiress and somehow transformed himself into the author of a landmark scientific study, Fishes of the Bahamas, published by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. As a young boy, the author took part in collecting specimens for his father. Fifty years later, he was asked to join a team from the same institution studying the state of sea life in the Bahamian waters where he grew up, as measured against his father’s benchmark. The first of the sea changes presented in this eloquent book stems from climate change and is the drastic transformation of ocean life due to global warming. The second is his father’s miraculous transformation from presumed playboy into scientist. And the third involves the author’s own complicated relationship with his parents and in particular his father, as he grew older and assumed the part of the prodigal son. . . . This is a status report on climate change unlike any other, both a report from the field and an intensely personal reckoning.
600ppm: A Novel of Climate Change, by Clarke W. Owens (Cosmic Egg Books 2015, 243 pages, $16.95 paperback)
It’s the year 2051, twenty-five years after the U.S. Congress, at the behest of corporate oligarchs, has deliberately stifled scientific information warning of the catastrophes of global warming which have now come to pass: flooded southern and eastern U.S. coastal cities, a desertified West, northward-migrating refugees, rationed food and water, endless distractive war. 26-year-old naif, Jeff Claymarker, watches extinct species on Wild Beast World and listens to right wing broadcasts until his best friend is wrongly convicted of murder. Unwillingly involved in the effects of a National Security plot, he must search for clues to the truth. The only one comes from a stash of flash drives belonging to Jeff’s late uncle, a Washington climate scientist.
The Heatstroke Line: A Cli-Fi Novel, by Edward L. Rubin (Sunbury Press 2015, 228 pages, $14.95 paperback)
Nothing has been done to prevent climate change, and the United States has spun into decline. Storm surges have made coastal cities uninhabitable, blistering heat waves afflict the interior and, in the South (below the Heatstroke Line), life is barely possible. Under the stress of these events and an ensuing civil war, the nation has broken up into three smaller successor states and tens of tiny principalities. When the flesh-eating bugs that inhabit the South show up in one of the successor states, Daniel Danten is assigned to venture below the Heatstroke Line and investigate the source of the invasion. The bizarre and brutal people he encounters, and the disasters that they trigger, reveal the real horror climate change has inflicted on America.
The World Without Us, by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury 2016, 320 pages, $26.00)
Thirteen-year-old Tess Müller stopped speaking six months ago. Her silence is baffling to her parents, her teachers, and her younger sister, Meg. But the more urgent mystery for both girls is where their mother Evangeline – raised in a mountain commune and bearing the scars of the fire that destroyed [the surrounding forest] – goes each day, pushing an empty pram and returning home wet, muddy, and disheveled. Their father, Stefan, struggling with his own losses, tends to his apiary and tries to understand why his bees are disappearing. As the forest trees are felled and the lakes fill with run-off from the expanding mines, Tess watches the landscape of her family undergo shifts of its own. A storm is coming – and the Müllers are in its path.
The Lamentations of Zeno: A Novel, by Ilija Trojanow, translated by Philip Boehm (Verso Books 2016, 176 pages, $19.95)
The Lamentations of Zeno is an extraordinary evocation of the fragile and majestic wonders to be found at a far corner of the globe, written by a novelist who is a renowned travel writer. . . . Zeno Hintermeier is a scientist working as a travel guide on an Antarctic cruise ship, encouraging the wealthy to marvel at the least explored continent and to open their eyes to its rapid degradation. . . . Troubled in conscience and goaded by the smug complacency of the passengers in his charge, he starts to plan a desperate gesture that will send a wake-up call to an overheating world. [The Lamentations of Zeno] is a portrait of a man in extremis, a haunting and at times irreverent tale that approaches the greatest challenge of our age . . . from an impassioned human angle.
Locust Girl: A Lovesong, by Melinda Bobis (Spinifex Press 2016, 179 pages, $24.95)
Most everything has dried up: water, the womb, even the love among lovers. Hunger is rife and survival desperate, except across the border. One night, a village is bombed for attempting to cross the border. Nine-year old Amedea is buried underground and sleeps to survive. Ten years later, she wakes with a locust embedded in her brow. A magical fable, this is a girl’s journey through devastation and humanity’s contemporary wound: the border. Deeply ingrained in both the system and individual lives, the border has cut the human heart. So, how do we repair it with the story of a small life? “It is no surprise that a dystopian novel about climate change has won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards” – Susan Wyndham
The Well: A Novel, by Catherine Chanter (Washington Square Press 2016, 400 pages, $16.00 paperback)
When Ruth Ardingly and her family make that first long drive up from the city in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a farm that appears to offer everything they need. . . . But when the drought begins, everything changes. Surrounded by thirty acres of lush greenery, the farm mysteriously thrives while the world outside crumbles under the longest dry spell in recorded history. No one, including the owners, understands why. But The Well’s unique glory comes at a terrible price. . . . Accusations of witchcraft, wrongdoing, and murder envelop the family until their paradise becomes a prison. A beautifully written debut novel, The Well is an utterly haunting meditation on the fragile nature of our relationships with each other and the places we call home.