At Home An Unruly Planet



September 3, 2022

The book is an apt reassessment of the meaning of home in the current state of climate change. “Everywhere, the weather, the sky, the water, even the terrain on which we have built our homes is becoming unruly,” writes the author in this disturbing yet beautifully written book. Though the focus of the book is on locations in America but this situation is actually synonymous with the e entire globe. As the Earth continues to warm—a problem caused primarily by the fossil fuel demands of humans—weather extremes such as severe drought, mega-fires, and catastrophic flooding are becoming commonplace.

Near-constant fires in the American West continue to force people from their homes, as do the increasing number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf and along the Atlantic Coast. For decades, as the author shows throughout, researchers have “called for a reckoning with evidence that had been ignored.” As the author points out—along with countless other experts before her—we can no longer ignore the evidence, and “everything that we took for granted is now in question.” Focusing on the U.S., the author shares four memorable narratives about specific areas already suffering from the effects of climate change: a small town in Alaska being forced to relocate due to thawing of the land; and Pateros, Washington, where residents cleaned up rubble and debris after a fire destroyed the town. Interspersed among these stories are author’s pertinent, engaging essays that speak to the theme of home, including the loss of safety and the homesickness that many will likely face from being uprooted. A hopeful, urgent, and universal message about our collective ability to face the climate changes we can no longer ignore. TW


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