Thursday, October 5, 2023

The Heat Will Kill You First by Jeff Goodell Book Review

About the Book:

The world is waking up to a new reality: wildfires are now seasonal in California, the Northeast is getting less and less snow each winter, and the ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctica are melting fast.  Heat is the first order threat that drives all other impacts of the climate crisis.  And as the temperature rises, it is revealing fault lines in our governments, our politics, our economy, and our values. The basic science is not complicated: Stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow, and the global temperature will stop rising tomorrow. Stop burning fossil fuels in 50 years, and the temperature will keep rising for 50 years, making parts of our planet virtually uninhabitable.  It’s up to us.  The hotter it gets, the deeper and wider our fault lines will open.  

The Heat Will Kill You First is about the extreme ways in which our planet is already changing. It is about why spring is coming a few weeks earlier and fall is coming a few weeks later and the impact that will have on everything from our food supply to disease outbreaks. It is about what will happen to our lives and our communities when typical summer days in Chicago or Boston go from 90° F to 110°F. A heatwave, Goodell explains, is a predatory event— one that culls out the most vulnerable people.  But that is changing. As heatwaves become more intense and more common, they will become more democratic.  
As an award-winning journalist who has been at the forefront of environmental journalism for decades, Goodell’s new book may be his most provocative yet, explaining how extreme heat will dramatically change the world as we know it.  Masterfully reported, mixing the latest scientific insight with on-the-ground storytelling, Jeff Goodell tackles the big questions and uncovers how extreme heat is a force beyond anything we have reckoned with before.

My Review:

There have been many books reporting on what might happen in the future due to climate change. Goodell reports on what is already happening because of our warming earth. Living on an island in the Salish Sea, I lived through the PNW heat dome with which he opens his book. I had never experienced anything like it, even though I'd lived on the “mild weather” island for more than seven decades.

I appreciate Goodell documenting so many areas of danger because of increasing temperatures world wide. The price farm workers are paying is heart breaking. The melting glaciers of west Antarctica, the movement of animals northward as they seek to preserve their desired habitat, the loss of coral, the devastating effects of the “blob” and more.

I recommend this book to readers who want to know what is happening world wide right now. It is certainly eye opening, revealing facts that can no longer be denied. It has just been reported this last September was the hottest ever with the highest temperature anomaly of any month. Read this book to understand what that means.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author:

Jeff Goodells latest book is The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet. He is the author of six previous books, including The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, which was a New York Times Critics Top Book of 2017. He has covered climate change for more than two decades at Rolling Stone and discussed climate and energy issues on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is a Senior Fellow at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow.

Little, Brown, and Company, 400 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

No comments: