In a historical moment of hurricanes, flooding, and unprecedented weather events, it is becoming increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that it is changing the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways.
In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through our nation’s disappearing places, from Louisiana to Miami, Staten Island to the Bay Area. The wetlands that define these regions are among the most imperiled ecosystems on the planet—accustomed to periods of change, of ebb and flow, yet overwhelmed by rapidly shifting conditions. For many of the plants and animals who live there, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place.
Is human civilization facing a similar set of limited options? And how do we move forward in a world whose borders are already becoming unsettled and strange? Weaving the firsthand accounts of those who are living through sea level rise today—scientists, activists, and members of the communities both currently at risk and already displaced—with eyewitness reporting from our shoreline’s disappearing places, Rising is at once polyphonic and precise, lyric reportage that privileges the voices of those usually kept at the margins.
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
“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.”