Burden Sharing at the Water’s Edge

Book Review of ‘Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore’ by Elizabeth Rush
Nature Climate Change 8 , doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0288-5

by Max Boykoff

Both elegy and eulogy, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore is a compelling portrait of life in a changing climate. Author Elizabeth Rush’s work of creative non-fiction brings you in — experientially, scientifically, emotionally, aesthetically, viscerally — to US communities grappling with the realities of human-induced climate change in the twenty-first century.

Moving from the Gulf Coast to New York’s Staten Island and Maine’s outer banks to the Pacific Northwest and the San Francisco Bay, the book includes testimonials from inhabitants of these communities — stakeholders if you will. Rush intersperses these first-person accounts with her own. Along the way, she reveals personal details while also profiling the struggles of people like Richard Santos in Alviso, California, Marilynn Wigging in Pensacola, Florida and Laura Sewall in Small Point, Maine. Most striking in this work is the power of Rush’s storytelling; from it, we as readers gain insights into the climate challenges experienced by people living at the water’s edge. Read more …

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