The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities by Mike Tidwell


If you went to see An Inconvenient Truth and became fired up about the environmental issues in the film, then reading this book will sustain your ardor – it’s a highly readable heads-up on the natural catastrophes (stronger hurricanes, melting ice caps) Tidwell feels are caused by global warming, and a fine primer on the ways we can possibly avoid major problems in the future.  He emphasizes that we need to make changes NOW, especially in limiting our use of fossil fuels.

Discussion about Hurricane Katrina and its destruction of New Orleans takes up a good chunk of the book – in many aspects, The Ravaging Tide… continues the ecological study of the Louisiana wetlands that Tidwell covered in Bayou Farewell a few years back.  He blames the rapid disintregration of the Gulf Coast there on past and present practices of containing the Mississippi River and how this has been completely detrimental to regeneration of the barrier islands that were a first point protection from hurricane winds – protection that was sorely lacking when Katrina slammed into New Orleans last year.  He then pushes for higher public awareness of the factors of global warming to the coastline of the entire country, not just Louisiana, and presents a hard look at the future world if we ignore the menace, caused by careless abuse of the environment, that is literally lapping at our shores.

To counter the potential backlashes of global warming, Tidwell urges a determined and fast changeover to alternative energy methods such as sun and wind.  Thankfully, he lives by what he says – he powers his home by solar panels and nearby wind energy, heats with a corn pellet stove, and is a strong public advocate of sustainable energies – solar, wind, biomass, and the like. 

The Ravaging Tide will make you think locally, globally, and all points in between.  And if you really feel the zeal after reading this and want to learn more, check out these websites:

And, there’s more out there than these.  Also, pay a visit to the library’s Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch – its main focuses are on nature and environment.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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