Important Reading on the Environment, Aug. 2022, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Environmental concerns past, present, and future. 

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Bittle, Jake. The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration. S. & S. Aug. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781982178253. $28.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE/DISASTER

With climate change prompting displacement worldwide, journalist Bittle pulls in his focus, warning us that millions in the United States will be forced to migrate internally in the next 50 years. They will be burned out of California, flooded out of Louisiana and North Carolina, compelled to flee the desiccated cotton fields of Arizona, and more. Indeed, the federal government has already sponsored the relocation of tens of thousands of families from flood zones, with tens of thousands more relocating on their own owing to natural disaster. The migration has begun; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

King, Dean. Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the Friendship That Saved Yosemite. Scribner. Aug. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9781982144463. $30. NATURE/CONSERVATION

Providing context for today’s conservation efforts, King ( Skeletons on the Zahara) relates what happened when environmentalist John Muir and his longtime editor, Robert Underwood Johnson, left 1889 San Francisco for Yosemite Valley. Muir was devastated by the depredations wrought there by mining, tourism, and logging, but Johnson persuaded him that they had to fight back. The result: the creation of Yosemite National Park and the launching of the U.S. environmental movement. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

McDonald, Bob. What’s the Alternative?: A Guide to Our Green Energy Future. Viking. Aug. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780735241947. $22.95. SCIENCE

With whales cavorting in Vancouver’s harbors and mountain goats visiting a Welsh town, pandemic lockdown revealed green possibilities we thought were lost. But how can they be sustained? Award-winning CBC science reporter McDonald (the host of Quirks & Quarks)  goes beyond the long-available wind, solar, and geothermal technologies to show us alternative power sources like desk-sized nuclear reactors, generators run by tides, and space-based satellites that convert sunlight into microwaves that are then sped earthward. Green technology is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, so here’s a chance to catch up.

Ostrander, Madeline. At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth. Holt. Aug. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781250620514. $28.99. SCIENCE/GLOBAL WARMING

Last summer, climate change was made real as one in three people in the United States faced some kind of weather disaster, and environmental journalist Ostrander explores such close-to-home changes with personal stories. A firefighter and a mayor struggle to rebuild their devastated Pacific Northwest community; a historic preservationist seeks to save St. Augustine, FL, from rising seas; an urban farmer hopes to reset the future of a California town visited by fossil-fuel disasters; and an  Indigenous Alaskan community moves to higher ground as their village site is washed away. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Savage, Kathryn. Groundglass. Coffee House: Consortium. Aug. 2022. 128p. ISBN 9781566896405. pap. $16.95. MEMOIR/GRIEF

Poet/essayist Savage grew up near a US Superfund site—one of thousands of sites contaminated by hazardous substances and slated by the federal government for clean-up. Currently, she lives atop Minnesota’s most polluted aquifer. Here she mourns the devastation to land, groundwater, communities, and people by environmental pollution while contemplating raising a young son as her father died of cancer.

Vince, Gaia. Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World. Flatiron: Macmillan. Aug. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781250821614. $28.99. SCIENCE

Global migration has doubled in the past decade, with billions set to be displaced in the coming decades, and a large reason is climate change bringing fire, drought, violent storms, and disappearing shorelines in its wake. Award-winning science journalist Vince argues that we aren’t yet acknowledging how and how much climate change will reconfigure human geography, and here she sets out to show us. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle.

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