OFFSITE EVENT: Climate Chronicles — The Delusion of Controlling Nature

Thursday, April 11, 2024 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Academics call it maladaptation; simply, it’s about solutions that backfire. In his new book, Over the Seawall, Stephen Robert Miller tells us the stories behind these unintended consequences and the fixes that can do more harm than good. From seawalls in coastal Japan to the reengineered waters in the Ganges River Delta, to the artificial ribbon of water supporting both farms and urban centers in arid Arizona, Miller traces the histories of engineering marvels that were once deemed too smart and too big to fail.

In each story, Miller takes us into the land and culture, seeking out locals and experts to better understand how complicated, grandiose schemes led instead to failure, and to find answers to the technological holes we’ve dug ourselves into; urging us to take a hard look at the fortifications we build and how they’ve fared in the past. Miller embraces humanity’s penchant for problem-solving but argues that if we are to adapt successfully to climate change, we must recognize that working with nature is not surrender but the only way to assure a secure future.

Stephen Robert Miller is an award-winning independent journalist, author, and editor who covers climate change, environmental conservation and agriculture from his home in rural Colorado. His work appears in National Geographic, Discover Magazine, Audubon, The Guardian, and many others. Stephen was a 2018-2019 Ted Scripps Fellow. His new book, Over the Seawall, takes a global perspective on natural hazards and the challenges of adaptation to climate change. He has reported from across the U.S. and Canada, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic. He graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Arizona and was previously senior editor of environmental justice for YES! Magazine, as well as editor of a Seattle-based weekly newspaper.

Marcus Harrison Green is a columnist for The Seattle Times. A long-time Seattle native, he is the founder of the South Seattle Emerald, which focuses on telling the stories of South Seattle and its residents.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle
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