Heat by Jeff Goodell [10/10]

Surely no writer/journalist operating today, Bill McKibben possibly excepted, more powerfully depicts our future in the Anthropocene Age, the time of climate change, than American virtuoso Jeff Goodell. His The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, which graphically foretold what is now playing out in every country, crushed and inspired me equally in 2017 and I, like many, wondered if he could bear to bring more eloquent doom and (as he does) hope to us. The answer is Heat: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet (that’s the finalized American title but the ebook I bought is more biblically called, in line with the previous book, The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet). And it is the portentous missive we dreaded but know is correct. Goodell directly tackles the primary impact of a heating world, the actual increased temperatures, both the steady averages and the more frequent, killer heatwaves. Again, he could not have been more prescient: witness the globe right now. Backed by stellar investigatory research and interviews, penned with precise outrage, the book ranges across all the effects of hotness: a move beyond the “goldilocks zone” humans can live in; the bludgeoning impacts on animals, birds, and insects who cannot move to cooler climes; increases in vector-borne diseases; ruptures in the global food systems; melting of ice caps and icebound lands and glaciers; and the iniquity of a world where the poor will suffer most (but, as Goodell points out, no one will escape the new fiery atmosphere). I sobbed upon concluding Heat but now, dear reader, I am enraged.

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