Contact: Aine Duffy

(917) 351-7106


Publication Date: April 2004




Reports From the Frontlines of Climate Change


Edited by Jim Motavalli



FEELING THE HEAT: Reports From the Frontlines of Climate Change (Routledge; ISBN Pb: 0-415-94656-5: $17.95 [$26.95 Canada]), edited by Jim Motavalli, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine, is the missing link in global warming literature; a reporter's book written not from the UN floor or the scientists' lab, but from the world's "hot spots" where this dangerous shift has already started. Instead of conjecture, it documents with vivid, on-the-spot prose the dramatic impact of rising tides, melting glaciers, disappearing beaches and intensifying storms on people's lives today.


It's the kind of book you may wish you didn't have to read, but no issue is more important in the 21st century.


For an increasing number of people, global warming is not an academic and scientific debate, but a matter of survival. From the frozen Arctic to the tropical islands at the earth's Equator, people are being affected by dramatic changes in long-established climatic patterns and the very geography of the places they call home. As the planet warms at a rate of four degrees Fahrenheit per century, violent storms are increasing in frequency, icebergs are melting, sea level is rising, species are losing their habitats, and temperature records are being broken.




FEELING THE HEAT is not a dry discussion, dotted with computer models and scientific back-and-forth; it's a travelogue to actual world hot spots, where people are already coping day-to-day with the consequences of climactic disruption.


From China to New York, minor changes in what were fairly established weather patterns have already produced profound and permanent effects on local ecosystems. Fish species are disappearing, with ripples throughout the food chain. Birds and butterflies are moving, turning up in places they have never been seen before. Some plants are dying, others thrive. In France alone 10,000 people die from a prolonged heat wave that hit Europe in the summer of 2003. A mere few months later, the Eastern Seaboard experiences a cold front that sets records tumbling. Global warming is no longer a matter for serious debate it is real and it is here.

The locations for the book were strategically chosen because each represents a separate and important global warming impact, such as rising tides, melting glaciers, evolving ecosystems and air pollution. They are: the California coast, where sea level has risen between three and eight inches; the low-lying islands of Antigua and Barbuda, members of the threatened Alliance of Small Island States, which has proposed a very modest 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; New Jersey, where "the largest and costliest 'beach nourishment' project ever" is underway; Alaska, deeply impacted by warming temperatures and melting ice; western Europe, under attack both by rising seas and a loss of warming Gulf Stream waters; Australia's Great Barrier Reef, threatened by coral bleaching and rising tides; China, where rapid industrialization has pushed sharp increases in fossil fuel use; India, challenged by a vast air pollution haze; New York City, which has formed a coalition to fight climate change; the Pacific Northwest, whose mountains are slowly losing their snow cover; Fiji, threatened with total disappearance by sea level rise; and the Antarctic, where the habitat of penguins and other birds has been disrupted and polar ice is breaking up, as scientists predicted it would.







***The book is richly illustrated by images from award-winning nature***

photographer Gary Braasch, whose personal project "World View of Global Warming," which has been widely exhibited, is attempting to document the onset of climate change. Braasch's work has illustrated stories for Discover, Natural History, Smithsonian, Audubon and Life.


About the Contributors


The book's contributors are some of the most distinguished environmental journalists in the U.S. Jim Motavalli edits E/The Environmental Magazine, the nation's leading independent "green" publication, and is the author of Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future and Breaking Gridlock: Moving Toward Transportation That Works (both Sierra Club Books). Sally Deneen is a prolific Seattle-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review and U.S. News and World Report. The Florida Magazine Association named her "Writer of the Year" in 1998. Ross Gelbspan is a veteran of The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, and author of The Heat Is On: The Climate Crisis, the Cover-up, the Prescription (Perseus Books, 1998). He maintains David Helvarg is an investigative journalist and author of the 2001 book Blue Frontier: The Fight to Save America's Living Seas (W.H. Freeman) and The War Against the Greens (Johnson Books). Helvarg is also president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, and a commentator for Marketplace Radio. Mark Hertsgaard is the author of The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Earth Odyssey: Around the World In Search of Our Environmental Future (Broadway Books). He is an environmental columnist for The Nation, a reporter for Worldlink TV, and a commentator for National Public Radio. Orna Izakson is a freelance environmental journalist based in Portland, Oregon. A former staff writer at newspapers on both U.S. coasts, including the Bangor Daily News, Eugene Weekly and others, her writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the country. She is a regular contributor to E/The Environmental Magazine. Kieran Mulvaney lives in Anchorage, Alaska and is the author of The Whaling Season: An Inside Account of the Struggle to Stop Commercial Whaling and At the Ends of the Earth (both Island Press). Dick Russell is the author of three books, including Eye of the Whale (Simon & Schuster), named a best book of 2001 by three major newspapers. Colin Woodard is a self-employed writer and journalist and author of Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas (Basic Books), a narrative non-fiction account of the deterioration of the world's oceans. His second book, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (Viking Press), is being published this spring.


If you would like to schedule an interview or an event with Jim Motavalli, please contact Aine Duffy at 917-351-7106 or



Feeling the Heat


Edited by Jim Motavalli

Routledge March: 6 x 9: 176 pp

12 halftones; 8pp plate section

Hb: 0 415 94655 7: $80.00 Pb: 0 415 94656 5: $17.95

[Can. Hb $120.00; Pb $26.95]