Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

Atria. Sept. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982143831. $27. NAT HIST
Climate scientist Hayhoe (political science, Texas Tech Univ.; chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy) offers a highly readable, well-organized study of polarizing issues surrounding climate change; it’s also memoiristic. The book loudly announces its intentions in the first pages, where Hayhoe articulates the intersection of her scientific research and her situated knowledge (the idea that knowledge reflects the context in which it is produced and the identity of its producer). Too often, realism and hope exist in opposition, which is deflating (and, as Hayhoe brilliantly argues, defeatist) during a time of cataclysmic unrest in social, environmental, medical, and political spaces. Hayhoe’s book contains careful arguments, scientific data, and personal stories about climate change, but its most significant contributions are, first, showing readers that conversations with others have an impact, and second, explaining how to have dialogues in open, loving ways to move toward change. Hayhoe is open about the deleterious effects of partisan politics on the ability to talk about environmental issues. The strategies she leaves her readers with are therefore as much about having difficult conversations across party lines as they are about science.
VERDICT Spanning the intersection of science, politics, and memoir, Hayhoe’s debut offers guidance on what readers can do to effect change.
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