Sudden Spring
Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South

Rick Van Noy

Strategies for the real and present danger of climate change


“All the world will feel the effects of our rapidly changing climate, of course—and those spots that we cherish most for their sense of place, their long-standing in our hearts, will be the hardest to watch change. Perhaps these fine reflections will spur us to some of the action necessary to minimize the damage!”
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"Sudden Spring is an urgent, important book. Stroll down a southeastern beach in the United States and climate change will no longer be a theoretical, distant problem. Stranded houses jut out of the sand like the Statue of Liberty at the end of the original Planet of the Apes. The ocean is rising, and this isn’t hard to see on the Outer Banks or in Miami or Norfolk, Virginia, where the military, at least, are no longer climate skeptics. Rick Van Noy has done us all a service by issuing this wake-up call. As he points out, humans have not evolved to face long-term threats, but as this book makes clear, we need to adapt sooner rather than later. Our survival depends on it."
—David Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains and Return of the Osprey

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The results of climate change make the headlines almost daily. All across America and the globe, communities have to adapt to rising sea levels, intensified storms, and warmer temperatures. One way or another, climate change will be a proving ground. We will either sink, in cases where the land is subsiding, or swim, finding ways to address these challenges.

While temperatures and seas are rising slowly, we have some immediate choices to make. If we act quickly and boldly, there is a small window of opportunity to prevent the worst. We can prepare for the changes by understanding what is happening and taking specific measures. There is “commitment” already in the climate change system. To minimize those effects will require another kind of commitment, the kind Rick Van Noy illustrates in these stories about a climate-distressed South.

Like Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking work Silent Spring, Rick Van Noy’s Sudden Spring is a call to action to mitigate the current trends in our environmental degradation. By highlighting stories of people and places adapting to the impacts of a warmer climate, Van Noy shows us what communities in the South are doing to become more climate resilient and to survive a slow deluge of environmental challenges.

Page count: 232 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $32.95

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RICK VAN NOY is a professor of English at Radford University and the author of Surveying the Interior: Literary Cartographers and the Sense of Place and A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons (Georgia).