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Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World

by Belle Wuthrich (ill.); Kath Boake W. (ill.); Keltie Thomas

The term climate change often brings to mind unpredictable storms and unseasonable temperatures. But in Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World, it’s clear that we’re in for more than stormy weather as sea levels around the globe continue to rise, changing the face of the Earth and our daily lives.

Accomplished author and former OWL magazine editor Keltie Thomas (Do Fish Fart?; How Hockey Works) tackles both the geographic and social implications of climate change with charm and expertise. She explains that more than 100 million people live within treacherous coastal regions, vulnerable to high tides and storm surges, and adds that as humans create more and more CO2, heating up the Earth, the oceans will expand and the glaciers will melt. Thomas makes her point by playfully measuring sea-level rise against an adult womans knees and the Statue of Liberty.

At first glance, the book’s subject feels a bit doom and gloom. But we learn that major seaside cities have designed ways to cope, by implementing a “SLR (sea level rise) Game Plan,” and deciding whether to protect current resources, adapt to a changing environment, or relocate altogether. While Thomas does a solid job conveying the gravity of the situation, she leaves the reader wanting to hear more about innovative solutions, like the Netherlands’ successful use of floating gates to hold back the pounding sea.

The design, by Belle Wuthrich and Kath Boake W., blends a mix of upbeat illustrations (including an irresistible surfing bunny) with somewhat alarming photoshopped images of waterlogged cityscapes, reminiscent of CGI-heavy disaster movies.

Rising Seas looks into the future with stark frankness and challenges us to take action through mindful energy reduction, activism, and citizen science, ever hopeful that we can help to keep the tide at bay.