Betting the Farm on a Drought
Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change
190 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in
Sales Date: April 15, 2015
Climate change has become one of the most polarizing issues of our time. Extremists on the left regularly issue hyperbolic jeremiads about the impending destruction of the environment, while extremists on the right counter with crass, tortured denials. But out in the vast middle are ordinary people dealing with stronger storms and more intense droughts than they’ve ever known. This middle ground is the focus of Betting the Farm on a Drought, a lively, thought-provoking book that lays out the whole story of climate change—the science, the math, and most importantly, the human stories of people fighting both the climate and their own deeply held beliefs to find creative solutions to a host of environmental challenges.
Seamus McGraw takes us on a trip along America’s culturally fractured back roads and listens to farmers and ranchers and fishermen, many of them people who are not ideologically, politically, or in some cases even religiously inclined to believe in man-made global climate change. He shows us how they are already being affected and the risks they are already taking on a personal level to deal with extreme weather and its very real consequences for their livelihoods. McGraw also speaks to scientists and policymakers who are trying to harness that most renewable of American resources, a sense of hope and self-reliance that remains strong in the face of daunting challenges. By bringing these voices together, Betting the Farm on a Drought ultimately becomes a model for how we all might have a pragmatic, reasoned conversation about our changing climate.
"Seamus McGraw takes on an immense and cacophonous subject—climate change—and does so in a way that avoids the usual polarities of denial versus panic. He does an excellent job of seeking out interested American parties who don’t typically have a voice in the debate and makes a case that leadership on the issue probably won’t come from the conventional class of ‘leaders’ (namely, Congress). . . . His pragmatism and his refusal to live in a world of ideals make this a worthy project. . . . It deserves an audience of good readers."~Tom Zoellner, author of Train: Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World and The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire
"Seamus McGraw has created not just an important document regarding climate change and the future of our planet but a wonderful and truthful portrait of America. You feel like you’re on the road with him, cruising down little-traveled streets to meet fascinating characters whom you’d never see on Fox News or CNN. A terrific book."~A. J. Baime, author of The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm America at War and Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Man
"This title deserves a wide and varied readership; it has the power to change minds."~Booklist
"The author may have found that there is reason to despair on the legislative level, but fortunately, he also found more openness to finding common ground among common folks. . . . [He] provides plenty of reasons for optimism because it is clear that people are not ignoring this issue."~Austin American-Statesman
"(McGraw’s) story illustrates how the debate over fracking has ascended to the level of abortion or same-sex marriage as an indicator of political tribe. Those with agendas on either side can obscure the climate benefits of natural gas, the fossil fuel with the smallest carbon footprint, or downplay the real environmental hazards that fracking can cause."~The Times-Tribune
"Effectively blending story, science, and context, this engaging, readable book will be invaluable for those studying or working on issues associated with climate change, especially those with a social science or policy focus."~Choice
2. Comfortable in Our Ignorance
3. Kindergarten in a Fallout Shelter
4. Preaching to the Choir
5. Running from a Grizzly in Your Slippers
6. The Other White Meat
7. Flying by Wire
8. Notes from the Ivory Clock Tower
9. "I Never Met a Liberal Before"
10. The Year the Creeks Stopped Freezing
11. "It's What I Do"
12. Penguins Tumbling Off an Ice Sheet
The publication of Betting the Farm on a Drought was made possible by the support of the Environmental Studies Endowment (NEH).