The water will come Rising seas, sinking cities, and the remaking of the civilized world

Jeff Goodell

Book - 2017

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2nd Floor 363.73874/Goodell Checked In
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2017.
Main Author
Jeff Goodell (author)
First edition
Physical Description
340 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 303-330) and index.
  • Prologue: Atlantis
  • 1. The Oldest Story Ever Told
  • 2. Living with Noah
  • 3. New Climate Land
  • 4. Air Force One
  • 5. Real Estate Roulette
  • 6. The Ferrari on the Seafloor
  • 7. Walled Cities
  • 8. Island States
  • 9. Weapon of Mass Destruction
  • 10. Climate Apartheid
  • 11. Miami Is Drowning
  • 12. The Long Goodbye
  • Epilogue: Condo Diving
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
Review by New York Times Review

The most pernicious consequence of global warming is the rise of sea levels, which threatens cities around the world and has already triggered what may become the largest mass migration in human history. According to the International Organization for Migration, by 2050 as many as 200 million climate refugees will seek dry land to call home. Other writers have told the story of sea-level rise, but perhaps none as compellingly as Goodell. His riveting stories, from traveling to a Native American village on the Alaskan coast with President Obama, to the dilemma facing the Pentagon concerning the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, clarify the implications of sea-level rise and the choices communities face. There are no simple solutions. Building sea walls buys time, but eventually the water will come, and with it corroded infrastructure, unusable farmland, public health disasters, destroyed homes and businesses. Relocating is one solution, but it can be, as Goodell calls it, a game of real estate roulette. The wealthy and politically connected will dictate how, when and whether cities and towns devote resources to elevating roads and buildings. These decisions are unlikely to favor poor neighborhoods or poor nations. Even wealthy cities, like New York and Miami, lack the resources to protect everyone affected. The costs of even partial mitigation are staggering. In 2018, New York City will commence construction of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, known as the Big U, a 10-foot steel and concrete berm around Lower Manhattan, at a cost of more than $3 billion. The best long-term solutions, Goodell argues, involve working with nature rather than fighting to control it. One thing is certain: Rising sea levels will make it harder for governments to perform their essential function of keeping people safe.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [April 8, 2018]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Climate change has many, interconnected aspects, none more urgent than those affecting the oceans. In this engaging book, environmental writer Goodell (How to Cool the Planet, 2011) points out that while sea levels have always risen and fallen, the current rise is driven primarily by the dramatically accelerating melting of the arctic ice caps, and with so many cities on seashores, this will be devastating. Goodell circles the globe, interviewing scientists and those responsible for keeping people and their homes above water, observing how cities and nations, many already dealing with more frequent flooding and seawater contamination of freshwater sources, are able to adapt varies widely because of differing economic and political conditions. For some, it will mean building vast seawalls to shore up existing development, for others it will mean elevating infrastructure or abandoning low-lying regions and islands within a few generations. Creative responses must be deployed to save millions of lives and coastal communities, while nations must also work together to mitigate the impact we're having on the earth's delicate ecological balance. Goodell points to the Paris Climate Accord, which acknowledges human activity as a source of global warming and seeks a collective reduction in greenhouse gases to slow down global warming, as an essential first step.--Kaplan, Dan Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Not long after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, environmental reporter Goodell (How to Cool the Planet) was in Manhattan's Lower East Side, where he "saw broken trees, abandoned cars, debris scattered everywhere," and he began to realize how poorly prepared cities were to handle rising ocean levels. In this earnest volume, Goodell looks at the rise in sea levels around the globe, refuting climate-change deniers who fail to accept scientific facts. He takes readers to such places as Miami Beach, Fla., and Venice, Italy, which are regularly threatened by floods. The former thrives on tourism and real estate development, but there is little public regard for conservation; South Florida is "a world created by dredgers, cooled by air-conditioning, powered by nuclear energy, dominated by cars, sanitized by insecticides." When Goodell travels to Venice, famous for its series of canals, he finds residents already acquiesced to ever-deepening pools of water around the sinking city. Discussing Barack Obama's 2015 visit to the Arctic, Goodell recalls conversations he had with the then president months before international climate talks in Paris that year. Obama understood how important it was to fight climate change but advocated pragmatism. Perusing Goodell's alarming examination, readers may question the wisdom of such an approach. Agent: Heather Schroder, Compass Talent. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Rolling Stone contributing editor Goodell (How To Cool the Planet) looks at sea-level rise caused by Earth's melting ice caps and its effects on coastal settlements. He visited shrinking Greenland and the shores of Alaska, New York City, Virginia, Venice Beach, the Netherlands, the Marshall Islands, and Nigeria, concluding that the inexorable rise is a "slow-motion catastrophe" for low-lying cities and for ports. Some elaborate engineering works are being built to counter higher tides and storm surges for the next few decades. However, most of the present seacoast infrastructure will have to be abandoned eventually. Goodell spent quite a bit of time in Miami Beach, FL, where king tides regularly flood sewers and streets. He interviewed developers and politicians who understand but refuse to discuss the issue. The author offers sensible suggestions for dealing with this difficult situation, but will anyone act on them? Delay will foreclose the option of a managed retreat from the water's edge. VERDICT Anyone worried about the planet should check this one out, and coastal residents in particular should read this and consider their options.-David R. Conn, formerly with -Surrey Libs., BC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.