NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK, STARTING IN JANUARY 2012.
(Also available for Kindle, Nook, etc.)
The publisher's description:
In Shishmaref, Alaska, new seawalls are constructed while residents navigate the many practical and bureaucratic obstacles to moving their entire island village to higher ground. Farther south, inland hunters and fishermen set out to grow more of their own food—and to support the reintroduction of wood bison, an ancient species well suited to expected habitat changes. First Nations people in Canada team with conservationists to protect land for both local use and environmental resilience. In Early Warming, Alaskan Writer Laureate Nancy Lord takes a cutting-edge look at how communities in the north—where global warming is amplified and climate-change effects are most immediate—are responding with desperation and creativity.
This beautifully written and measured narrative takes us deep into regions where the indigenous people who face life-threatening change also demonstrate impressive conservation ethics and adaptive capacities. Underpinned by a long acquaintance with the north and backed with scientific and political sophistication, Lord’s vivid account brings the challenges ahead for us all into ice-water clarity.
Advance praise for Early Warming:
"Here's the up-to-the-second report from the scout furthest out along the front lines. Nancy Lord combines her knowledge and her love of the North to give us a vitally necessary, and in places hauntingly beautiful, account of what's already happening in those places the rest of us still think of as wild and untouched."
--Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and the new Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Early Warming is the most important book I've read all year. If you read only one climate change book, read this one. No statistical projections into the future, no doom, no gloom--no debate--just perfectly told stories of northern people who are right now struggling to bear their grief and reinvent their lives as forests die and burn, school buildings wash away, and the once-frozen ground gives way beneath their feet. By telling the stories so simply, so beautifully, Alaska's writer laureate forewarns the rest of the world."
--Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Wild Comfort
"…Although she deftly weaves pertinent scientific and political information throughout, her account’s power stems from her on-site observations, lyrical descriptions of the land and sea and sensitive interviews of local officials and natives whose insight and experience humanize an otherwise vast and arcane subject. . . . An eloquent and important dispatch."
From Library Journal:
In a firsthand account of Alaska's changing environment, former Alaska State Writer laureate Lord (Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life) uses her gift as a storyteller to address the science and politics of weather and climate within the context of Alaskan life. There is familiarity and honesty in her writing about the animals, habitats, and people she describes so skillfully—the salmon and the polar bears, the boreal forest and its significance in the carbon cycle, and the resourceful Alaskans facing the impacts of climate change. Lord's interviews with community members, officials, and environmental leaders, along with her own observations, provide an insight into the causes of and solutions to the environmental, social, economic, and cultural impacts of global warming and climate change. VERDICT Lord effectively places a life-threatening global issue within a local setting to give readers a glimpse of what Alaska and the rest of the world is at risk of losing without creative solutions and multiple layers of sustainability. Recommended for readers interested in nature and environmental issues.—Robin K. Dillow, Oakton Community Coll. Lib., Des Plaines, IL
From The Critics:
An alarming report from Alaska and Northwest Canada, ground zero for climate change.
Disproportionate temperature increases in the north, relative to the lower latitudes, make the region a perfect laboratory for witnessing the effects of global warming and for designing strategies to mitigate or adapt to altered weather patterns. According to longtime Alaska resident and veteran author Lord (Creative Writing/Univ. of Alaska, Anchorage;Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life, 2009, etc.), climate-related changes are happening now, radically transforming landscapes and lives. Although she deftly weaves pertinent scientific and political information throughout, her account's power stems from her on-site observations, lyrical descriptions of the land and sea and sensitive interviews of local officials and natives whose insight and experience humanize an otherwise vast and arcane subject. Lord reports from her home base, Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, where the wetlands are shrinking and large-scale modifications in both fresh water and marine conditions threaten the salmon-dependent economy; from Canada's Mackenzie River Valley and Fort Yukon, Alaska, where industrial development endangers the boreal forest, unlocking a massive carbon storehouse; from Barter Island, on the frozen Beaufort Sea, where thawing permafrost and diminished sea ice expose a vulnerable coastline and where "climate change tourism" now dominates the economy; from Shishmaref Island, where the Inupiaq have already voted to relocate because of erosion and flooding; and from Bethel, Alaska, where village elders near the Bering Sea gather to advise fishery managers and to consider the effects of ocean acidification, "climate change's evil twin." In each of these hot spots, residents already cope with climate-induced changes likely to reach the rest of us later. They're already making hard choices about land and water use, fire prevention and species conservation, as well as about combating climate change while still respecting traditional cultures. Amid an unprecedented challenge, the remote north, writes Lord, is a "proving ground," set to reveal either "how creative and responsible humans can be," or how feckless.
An eloquent and important dispatch.
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