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Bradley Babendir
Bradley Babendir is a fiction writer and critic. . His work has been published by The Washington Post, The Nation, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He lives in Boston.

Storytelling the Flood: Elizabeth Rush on Empathy and Climate Change

Allard Schager/Getty, collage by Katie Kosma

Bradley Babendir | Longreads | June 2018 | 16 minutes (4,357 words)

In Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore (Milkweed Editions), Elizabeth Rush visits people and communities made immediately vulnerable by the rising sea levels that are brought on by climate change. She interviews people who have lost their homes, their loved ones, and the world they once knew to flooding and other disasters. Some just want to be able to afford to leave, while others are willing to withstand everything to stay.

Rush pushes through the rhetoric around climate change to look closely at the consequences. Not the ones that will happen at some point down the road, but the ones that are happening now. She travels from Louisiana to Florida to California and elsewhere to see and try her best to understand what it is like to lose the ground beneath your feet.

We talked by phone about what led her to this book, what carried her through this book, and what comes next for her and her subjects. Read more…