Hope Against the Storm

How American communities contend with rising sea levels


So many tropical storms and hurricanes hit Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles that native residents talk about them as if they’re family members: “Who broke that window—Rita? Gustav? It wasn’t Katrina or Ike.” Rising sea levels and increasingly volatile storms bring other, no less harmful consequences, too: groundwater salinization, disappearing wetlands, decimated wildlife and fishing. The choice for people and animals in these places is stark: retreat or die. In her book, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, environmental reporter Elizabeth Rush tells the stories of the life-altering changes happening right now in our own back yards. This episode originally aired in 2018.

Go beyond the episode:

Photographs of Isle de Jean Charles, taken by Elizabeth Rush:

  • How American communities contend with rising sea levels

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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