A new book shows how animals are already coping with climate change


Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid
Thor Hanson
Basic Books, $28

As a conservation biologist, Thor Hanson has seen firsthand the results of climate change on vegetation and animals within the wild: the inexperienced macaws of Central America migrating alongside with their meals sources, the brown bears of Alaska fattening up on early-ripening berry crops, the conifers of New England looking for refuge from vanishing habitats. And as an attractive writer who has celebrated the wonders of nature in books about feathers, seeds, forests and bees (SN: 7/21/18, p. 28), he’s a great information to a subject which may in any other case ship readers down a properly of despair.

Hanson doesn’t despair in his newest book, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid. Though he outlines the numerous ways in which international warming is altering life on our planet, his tone will not be one in all hand-wringing. Instead, Hanson invitations the reader into the tales of specific folks, locations and creatures of all kinds. He attracts these tales from his personal experiences and people of different scientists, combining reporting with narrative tales of species that function examples of broader tendencies within the pure world.

A journey to La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, for instance, has Hanson reliving the expertise of tropical ecologist and climatologist Leslie Holdridge, who based the analysis station within the Nineteen Fifties and described, amongst different issues, how climate creates completely different habitats, or life zones, as elevation will increase. As Hanson sweats his means up a tropical mountainside so he can witness a shift in life zones, he notes, “I had to earn every foot of elevation gain the hard way.” I may virtually really feel the warmth that he describes as “a steaming towel draped over my head.” His vivid descriptions carry residence the explanation why so many species have now been documented transferring upslope to cooler climes.

Hanson doesn’t waste a lot breath attempting to persuade doubters of the fact of climate change, as a substitute displaying by instance after instance how it’s already enjoying out. The book strikes shortly from the fundamental science of climate change to the challenges and alternatives that species face — from shifts in seasonal timing to ocean acidification — and the ways in which species are responding.