The Water Will Come
by Jeff Goodell
Rising waters. Sinking cities. Global warming. Climate change. This is what we have to look forward to. In the new book, The Water Will Come, author Jeff Goodell spells it our pretty clearly. This book will open your eyes and awaken a desire to do something.
Goodell starts out by giving a hypothetical scenario for what might happen in Miami in the future, following a hurricane. It’s pretty eye-opening stuff. Sea levels are rising, an undeniable fact that should be a wakeup call to us all.
The first chapter examines flood stories from our history. There are some pretty remarkable things being learned by scientists studying these events. The author then visits various low-lying cities around the world to report on what’s happening on the ground. For example, the Marshall Islands may cease to exist as their lands all sink beneath the sea. Venice, Italy, is already experiencing rising sea level effects. Miami Beach is also. These are just a few of the cities and countries that the author shows us in this book. This is not reading for the faint of heart. This is scary stuff and it is reality. Even if we stop adding carbon to the atmosphere, the effects will not change much since it took so long to get to this place. The globe will keep on warming due to the pollution already in the atmosphere. There is little we can do to stop it. We have to start thinking about this now, while there is still time to move away from the coasts and relocate cities to higher ground. Or start building more resilient structures in these low-lying areas, ones that will be above the suspected high water level that is coming. We’ve built so much infrastructure near the coasts and these area are now vulnerable. Those drained wetlands in Florida are now in danger of being reclaimed by the ocean. The same story is happening around the world, as the author shows us. The ability to respond to this crisis will be affected by the financial costs. Some communities simply cannot afford to build expensive sea walls or other protective structures. Will those communities be abandoned? What about the more affluent cities? Will even they be able to respond in time?
The writing style is informative and conversational. It’s an easy-to-understand style that will appeal to all readers. You won’t need a science degree to comprehend the concepts the author portrays here. The scenarios are detailed and understandable. For example, what happens if there is 20 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century? How many people are displaced? Where would they go? What economic, social, and other consequences are there with this many climate refugees displaced? All these questions and more are addressed.
The book is pretty thorough and I felt like it was detailed enough without being “preachy.” We all should know that this is happening and we all should be prepared. Books like this will help. This book needs to be required reading for all government officials and anyone who is building structures near the coasts. The author did a fine job researching this and bringing it to a wide audience. The water definitely will come. The question is, what do we do about it? Are we prepared enough? Let’s hope this book awakens a new desire to do something about this problem, which will eventually affect us all, worldwide.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance reader copy I received in exchange for my honest review.