Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change

Thor Hanson. Basic, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-54167-242-0
Biologist Hanson (Buzz) takes readers under the wings of birds, into the shade of spruce trees, and underground to learn about 55-million-year-old fossils in this exciting exploration of nature’s response to climate change. “Understanding biological responses to climate change can help us find our place within it,” Hanson writes. “Simply put, if bush crickets, bumblebees, and butterflies can learn to modify their behaviors, then it stands to reason that we can too.” As he moves across time and habitats, he visits Walden Pond, where temperatures have risen an average 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit since Thoreau’s time; watches Alaskan grizzly bears take a pass on salmon in favor of elderberries; and observes saplings along the Des Moines River migrating to safer terrain than that populated by old growth. Hanson introduces readers to an array of scientists documenting these changes and conducts his own often humorous experiments: during a failed fossil hunt in a childhood stomping ground, he’s “a middle-aged stranger in a pandemic mask, carrying a backpack and a hammer,” and decides “it was time to leave.” With contagious curiosity, Hanson nimbly avoids pedantic, moralistic admonishments. Nature-lovers will be thrilled to see science so vividly described, and will marvel at the incredible ingenuity of creatures across the globe. Agent: Laura Blake Peterson, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/11/2021
Release date: 09/28/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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