While much of the global warming conversation rightly focuses on reducing our carbon footprint, the reality is that even if we were to immediately cease emissions, we would still face climate change into the next millennium. In Finding Higher Ground, Amy Seidl takes the uniquely positive—yet realistic—position that humans and animals can adapt and persist despite these changes. Drawing on an emerging body of scientific research, Seidl brings us stories of adaptation from the natural world and from human communities. She offers examples of how plants, insects, birds, and mammals are already adapting both behaviorally and genetically. While some species will be unable to adapt to new conditions quickly enough to survive, Seidl argues that those that do can show us how to increase our own capacity for resilience if we work to change our collective behavior. In looking at climate change as an opportunity to establish new cultural norms, Seidl inspires readers to move beyond loss and offers a refreshing call to evolve.
About the Author
Amy Seidl has taught in the environmental studies programs at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. She is currently a research scholar at Middlebury and associate director of the LivingFuture Foundation. She lives with her family in Huntington, Vermont, in a solar- and wind-powered home.
"A...lucidly presented commitment to science education...From solar panels, to wood stoves, to natural drying techniques for laundry, [Finding Higher Ground] is a very personal account of adaptation.”—National Geographic's "Daily News"
"Despite its small size and informal tone, the book contains a large number of well-documented examples of responses to climate change, and could serve as a good entry point for deeper explorations into climate change adaptation.”—Choice Magazine
“Here’s the playbook for the years ahead: loving but savvy, with open eyes and with open heart, Amy Seidl talks us through the possibilities we have on the planet we’ve created. A landmark book.”—Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“This is a wonderful and necessary book. If you’ve been avoiding the climate change story out of fear that it would catapult you into helplessness and depression, biologist Amy Seidl has just taken away your last defense. Passionate, knowledgeable, and full of unflinching courage, Finding Higher Ground exhorts us to open our eyes to ‘the agitation of change.’ We can’t adapt with them shut.”—Sandra Steingraber, author of Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis
“As an ecologist, a gardener, and a mother of two, Amy Seidl understands all too well the urgent challenges of climate change. But in Finding Higher Ground, her focus is finally on persistence and hope. For Seidl, that means combining a scientifically informed and spiritually charged appreciation for how living systems are already evolving with a determination to forge a more responsible and sustainable way of life for her own family. I feel grateful for this tough, timely, and encouraging book.”—John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home
“Not since Helen and Scott Nearing penned their testaments to the ‘Good Life’ has a Vermont author given us such a thoughtful, hopeful, and pragmatic guide to living lightly—and well—on this long-suffering planet. Amy Seidl draws on solid science, interesting characters (both human and otherwise), and a rich trove of personal experience to pave a sane way forward for us in this, the Age of Warming. A well-researched, thoroughly enjoyable introduction to local adaptation in the face of global change.”—Curt Stager, author of Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth
“Seidl’s glass-half-full optimism is a welcome change from the many fatalistic prognostications of the future.”—Kirkus Reviews