Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: March Book Review

Though this book has an intriguing title, don’t let that distract you from the story itself! The book’s wit, creativity, and humor extend past the title, breathing life into the science. In this deeply engaging biology lesson,  the reader joins author and eminent conservation biologist Thor Hanson on a journey to explore the impacts of climate change. I know what you’re thinking- another depressing book about climate change in an already dystopian year. I’ll take a pass. But it isn’t! That is one of the book’s great triumphs- it manages to be uplifting even though its subject matter is part of the larger tragedy of climate change. Hanson never loses sight of the fossil-fuel-induced catastrophe that serves as the impetus for the changes he discusses, but he does zoom in a little bit, illuminating the fascinating details of how organisms adapt and shift as the planet warms. In this way, the book is not soaked in tears but brightened by wonder at the resilience and sheer absurdity of the natural world. 

For a relatively short book, it packs an intellectual punch. It teaches readers about how climates shape environments, how trees can move, ancient giant sloths (and the importance of their dung), the process of rapid evolution, how scientists make climate predictions, and so much more. Organisms (including humans) and biological processes are more complex and interesting than we give them credit for. This book does a fantastic job of analyzing species both alien and familiar with a level of detail and conversational tone that makes it a page-turner. 

Climate change is something that we can observe in our everyday lives- in the much warmer temperatures, erratic storms, dwindling number of summer fireflies, ad Infinitum. It’s also something that looms in the headlines, creating an undercurrent of vague fear. But what does it really mean? What will it mean in the future for the world we inhabit and the species we love? If you want to know more about the science of climate change and how it will shape global ecosystems, request this book from the Ridgewood Public Library. 

Katrina Eilender
Staff Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *